Microsoft is buying Mojang for $2.5bn Mojang is the Swedish company behind massively popular game Minecraft. This acquisition is not a complete surprise since it was reported last week.
What is Minecraft? The Guardian had one of the best explanations last year: “Minecraft is, at its heart, a building game where players construct their own world out of blocks, making anything from a forest to the Eiffel Tower, like a kind of digital Lego without an instruction book. In a world of shoot ‘em up games with ever sharper graphics and more realistic gore, Minecraft stands out as a quirky outsider.”
The game is massively popular. In February, its developer, Mark “Notch” Persson, tweeted that 100 million people downloaded the game, with 14.3% paying for a copy of the game. Minecraft reportedly earned $100 million in profits last year.
Persson will not be going to Microsoft. Neither will any of the other cofounders of Mojang. They are all going to work on their own projects.
In a blog post explaining why they sold, Mojang says Minecraft became too big.
“[Notch] decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. 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. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.”
The reaction to this deal is overwhelmingly positive. On Twitter, Re/code reporter Peter Kafka calls Minecraft a “giant, growing, profitable business, at a price that will allow acquirer to break even next year.”
Jonathan Glick of Sulia compares Minecraft to Legos. And Ben White at Politico says kids are “totally crazy” for Minecraft.
Here is Microsoft’s press release on the deal: