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Post by Eorl @ 08:01am 16/09/14 | 30 Comments
Microsoft today announced the long-rumoured $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang, the company behind the world's most popular computer game Minecraft. Sadly, it looks like the acquisition hasn't included the creator of the popular sandbox title, Markus "Notch" Persson, who announced his retirement from the studio today.

Last week, rumors began to surface about the potential sale of the studio and its game. This week those rumors were confirmed. Microsoft announced the purchase of Mojang for $2.5 billion and Mojang, in turn, announced that the three founders, including Persson, would be leaving the company once the deal is done.

"Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms," says Xbox chief Phil Spencer. "Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC."

The acquisition opens a path for Microsoft to pursue a number of potential ways in getting their money back, from DLC packs through to even trying a Minecraft 2 if they feel lucky. With over 50 million copies sold so far on various devices including mobile, PlayStation and Xbox, it is somewhat clear why exactly Microsoft has purchased the very popular open-world title.

"Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle," Mojang’s Owen Hill revealed in a press release. "The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that." Notch has previously criticized Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, but in a revealing blog post he discusses his reasons for leaving Mojang and Minecraft. "If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately," says Persson."Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big."



minecraftmicrosoft$2.5 billion acquisitionmojang studiosmarkus persson
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Latest Comments
groganus
Posted 08:47am 16/9/14
His blog post makes sense, I completely understand someone saying, "F*** it, this isn't what I wanted, I'm bailing" yet despite what he says in it, at some point he did think he was up for the challenge of this, he stated very early when Minecraft was gaining traction that he declined a job with valve on the basis that he could make his own valve.

I don't like the fact that someone who saw that vision and had the opportunity to do so decided to bail on it when things got to tough, In my head it would of made more sense to get a CEO in that could of driven the company forward rather than sell it.

Instead of fierce competition we now have a big powerhouse with more ammo. That's not good for consumers.

With the dumb #Gamergate media s*** going around this will probably get chalked up as a result of the industry and everything that's going on. When in reality all it is is a man that had an opportunity to start something great, but decided that it was too tough and just wanted to go back to simple times.
ravn0s
Posted 08:55am 16/9/14
this will either improve minecraft for the better or destroy it.

I look forward to the uproar if they start charging for updates/DLC.
konstie
Posted 09:09am 16/9/14
$2.5 billion !? i'd take it.
Bah
Posted 09:18am 16/9/14
I don't like the fact that someone who saw that vision
It's one thing to have a vision, it's another to have the skills to follow it through.
Gabe N already had a decent career before Valve (with MS), so its arguable he had the skills to follow through. Notch had... minecraft which it turns out is $2.5 billion in the hand.
The Nerfatar
Posted 09:21am 16/9/14
this will either improve minecraft for the better or destroy it.

Honestly it's been floundering for ages, had great momentum in beta then failed to take it further in any meaningful way.

I hope that MS throws money at the idea and makes a fully featured MC2 (Minecraft: Ultimate or whatever), with NPCs, towns, things to actually spend food etc on (populations? IDK), sieges on castles, the ability to arm armies, etc. It was great making masterful ways to collect the resources, boring when there was no real need for them (though building s***loads of cart tracks was fun).
groganus
Posted 10:01am 16/9/14
It's one thing to have a vision, it's another to have the skills to follow it through.
Gabe N already had a decent career before Valve (with MS), so its arguable he had the skills to follow through. Notch had... Minecraft which it turns out is $2.5 billion in the hand.


You half quoted me, He had the Vision and Opportunity. The money coming in from Minecraft could of easily paid the salary of someone who knew what to do. I'm all for Notch taking a back seat, or stepping aside and letting someone control the business side of things, especially if he genuinely lacked the confidence and or ability to do so himself. F*** he could of put his ass through business school and learned a few things. Life is what you make it, He hit the jackpot, what happened to him is rare as f***, He had an opportunity and did sweet f*** all with it. He's entitled to do so but I think everyone can understand how disappointing it is to see someone who got so lucky waste the chance to do something awesome. Notch, is a Sell-Out.

But he shouldn't and likely won't give 2 s**** what people think as he rolls around in his money and re-enacts the opening sequence to duck tales.
trog
Posted 10:21am 16/9/14
Notch, is a Sell-Out.

But he shouldn't and likely won't give 2 s**** what people think as he rolls around in his money and re-enacts the opening sequence to duck tales.
Why should he? He owes you, and every other Minecraft player, nothing.

Good on him for getting out and making out like a bandit.
carson
Posted 10:36am 16/9/14
I don't know why he didn't get someone else to come in and run things so he could take a back seat. Mojang could have been more but they half arsed all the other projects. Scrolls had so much potential and could've beaten Hearthstone to the table, but they just half arsed it. Hell, even Minecraft has been getting a half arsed treatment. They've been promising an API for almost 2 years now but we just get more block types.

I hope that MS finally deliver on some API and s*** for the sake of the community. MS have been pretty good with their game studios. At least it wasn't EA that purchased them. They butchered Popcap.
groganus
Posted 10:37am 16/9/14
Why should he? He owes you, and every other Minecraft player, nothing.

Good on him for getting out and making out like a bandit.


I agree with you, my comments are more of a reflection on the wasted opportunity and the disappointment as a consumer, game enthusiast and hobbyist game dev.

Microsoft are actually a great company to take it over, I think they will push it as a learning tool whilst still making it accessible to its fan base. As far as Minecraft fans go, this will likely be the best thing that could happen to the game.
Python
Posted 11:07am 16/9/14
I just don't understand how Minecraft is worth $2.5 billion.

link
TicMan
Posted 11:22am 16/9/14
I agree on the valuation, I don't see how the game is worth that much (or even enjoyable) but good on Notch and the other founders, devs, etc for building a product that has been pretty successful.
Khel
Posted 11:30am 16/9/14
Its not just the game though, its the potential for a Minecraft 2, and all the Minecraft toys and LEGO and other s*** thats been licensed. Could make a mint out of it if its managed properly and pushed forward instead of stagnating or driven into the ground.
carson
Posted 11:32am 16/9/14
It's the player base that is the value. It's gigantic. Plus it's mostly popular with a younger generation of gamers (from 10+) so you can market to them and gain brand loyalty.

I also forgot to mention how Notch had a whinge about Facebook getting Occulus, then he sells of MS. I always felt that Notch was a bit of the ol' SJW who loved a bit of drama.

I agree with you, my comments are more of a reflection on the wasted opportunity and the disappointment as a consumer, game enthusiast and hobbyist game dev.

Yup. He had the funds to do whatever he wanted really. If he didn't want to run Mojang, get someone else to do it. And these side projects he wanted to do could have been done, rather than half arsing them and then they just fade away.

The only bad thing from this is probably the life span of Minecraft will be reduced as I'm sure that MS will want to cash in on a sequel at some point. With a player base as big as it is and the amount of money they just threw at it, it would make sense.
Khel
Posted 11:48am 16/9/14

Interesting estimated breakdown of Minecraft sales per platform. I wasn't suprised mobile was the biggest, and I was suprised console was second, but I was suprised it had sold so much on PC, over 16 million on PC! Thats insane, I mean I knew it was big but I didn't know it was THAT big.

http://www.polygon.com/2014/9/15/6154437/minecraft-platform-xbox-ps3-ios-android-pc-mac


The Nerfatar
Posted 12:47pm 16/9/14
If they'd just put it on steam the PC sales would have been through the roof.
Eorl
Posted 02:24pm 16/9/14
Those wondering where the money is for Minecraft, it is in the IP itself. My brother's two boys go gaga over the game, and will ask my brother at every chance for Minecraft-related material. Be it figurines, shirts or even book covers, it all has to be Minecraft.

It is just like the Star Wars of past, where everything was plastered in Darth Vader's face. Same will be for Minecraft.
ph33x
Posted 03:50pm 16/9/14
Tollaz0r!
Posted 04:48pm 16/9/14
I so would have sold minecraft for 2.5Billion, as if you f*****g wouldn't.

$2.5 Billion, in your pocket -taxes. The stuff you could do with that cash is beyond whatever minecraft could have achieved.



Good on him for getting out and making out like a bandit.


Bandit King more like it. Remember he also has squillions in his pocket from sales.

The guy should go party with Richard Branson and help build a space rocket with John Carmack.
In the meantime he could sale his mega yacht around the world, stopping at small coastal towns and leaving gifts of fat stacks of cash. And still have a billion left over.

last edited by Tollaz0r! at 16:48:03 16/Sep/14
Viper119
Posted 05:37pm 16/9/14
The trick is to get in, make the monies and get out as quickly as possible, kudos to him.
ph33x
Posted 06:28pm 16/9/14
Carmack doesn't build space rockets anymore.

Moon was boring.
Trauma
Posted 06:28pm 16/9/14
2.5 billion, that's absurd. Can't fault the guy for taking that offer.

How the f*** does M$ plan to make that cash back?
Eorl
Posted 06:31pm 16/9/14
2.5 billion, that's absurd. Can't fault the guy for taking that offer.

How the f*** does M$ plan to make that cash back?

Hats.
koopz
Posted 08:46pm 16/9/14
something tells me that the sneaky copies of 1.7.10 are souring throughout playgrounds across the country now, though the kids don't know why Dad is asking them to share it around :P
samatt
Posted 01:23am 17/9/14
$2.5 bill gg notch
trog
Posted 01:38am 17/9/14
Microsoft are actually a great company to take it over, I think they will push it as a learning tool whilst still making it accessible to its fan base. As far as Minecraft fans go, this will likely be the best thing that could happen to the game.
I am not so sure. I mentioned in the other thread that I think the whole ethos of Minecraft is almost diametrically opposed to that of Microsoft these days. The value of Minecraft is embedded in the community, the open-ness of the platform, and the fact that it can be what people want it to be. It harks back to the days of Doom and Quake and modding and map making; it's easy and anyone can do it and people can build and run their own worlds for them and their friends.

The Microsoft way of doing things doesn't fit. Even the new 'Realms' stuff they're talking about doesn't sound like it will gel as well with the community - only being able to run servers on the "minecraft cloud"? What if you don't live in a region with their servers? What if you want to run different mods? All of a sudden the entire playing field changes.

The thing in their favour though is the community is so vast that they can probably get away with monetising the s*** out of it for years before enough people fall off to make it unprofitable. It worked for Battlefield, anyway.

All it will take though is for some variant to get more popular and develop some momentum, and restore that sort of freedom and flexibility and they'll be back at square one. I saw some people mention minetest as an OSS alternative - it looks way more immature, but who knows where it will end up.
Rukh
Posted 03:23am 17/9/14
I doubt I'm the only one here who if I won a bucketload of money in the lottery, would retire the next day and spend my time only doing whatever it was I felt like doing. Not everyone has the need to be the richest rich person in the world. Notch gets a big share of $2.5 billion and gets to say "screw this" to a job he was obviously becoming uncomfortable with and instead just kick back and do whatever it is he feels like.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 08:09am 17/9/14
If Microsoft try to lock it down too much, my guess is that people will just mod the crap out of the version before The Microsoft Molestation(tm).

If I was Microsoft, which I'm clearly not, I would develop the game further adding in a bunch of stuff, like useable furniture (seriously, no chairs yet?), I would incorporate the highest use mods as base standard. Leave the current client-server architecture as is, no cloud shenanigans (unless that is added on top of everything else and not replace it).
I would make sure it supports Oculus Rift out of the box, and have it fully ready to go when Oculus arrives, and push that aspect fairly hard.

I would then consider partnering with Facebook and integrating it into the game. (ewww I know, but I swear there would be significant money in it). Make sure it is an optional thing and not a in-your-face must do thing.

Keep the game cheap, it must have a slight entry cost. Not free-to-play.

Concentrate on increasing the user-base as large as possible and make most of the money off merchandising and faceboook related advertising (not advertising in-game, but in the facebook side of the partnership).

Make a terrible Minecraft movie that is just a cash in. Or make a good one if planned on doing it more than once.

Oh and hire a popular Youtube presenter to play the Microsoft Version with all the features (facebook+cloud+whatever) to get the kids to accept it easily enough, seriously they follow these youtube presenters kind strongly.

last edited by Tollaz0r! at 08:09:48 17/Sep/14
DK
Posted 08:35am 17/9/14
Toll i'd hire you
ph33x
Posted 09:10am 17/9/14
If MS f*** with MC, people will just use 1.8 from now on, diabling/cracking any update services, and branch off the main game.

Since the mods will still work, it will be a game vs game scenario. Even more community fragmentation. F*** I love it.
Khel
Posted 09:13am 17/9/14
While modding is a big part of it on pc sure, I don't think it's the core of the game. When you consider the console and mobile versions are more than double pc, and afaik they're completely closed. I think there's plenty of room for Microsoft to do cool stuff with it, and if people are unhappy with the changes they'll just keep playing the old version on pc. I'm sure there will be rabbit anti-microsoft people who refuse to play any post Microsoft versions anyway out of protest.
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