Confirmed: Microsoft buys Minecraft creator for $2.5b

As rumoured, Microsoft has acquired Mojang for US$2.5 billion. The deal includes the Swedish developer, and all of its IP, including Scrolls and – of course – Minecraft in all its many forms.

Now property of Microsoft

Now property of Microsoft

Phil Spencer from Microsoft is quick to point out that a lot of things won’t change:

At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. 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.

He also explains that Minecon will continue next year, and that YouTubers, innovators, bloggers and players will be given more opportunities to connect “both in person and online”.

Mojang CEO Carl Manneh explains that the sale is part of giving the game back to its fans:

The ‘Minecraft’ players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations. The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of ‘Minecraft’. As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.

The key point there – Mojang‘s founders are moving on – and that includes Notch. The man who owns a majority share in the company has confirmed he will be leaving the studio he helped create five years ago. A heartfelt open letter explains his position on the matter – referencing the recently successful “This is Phil Fish” video as a catalyst:

I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

For fans of Notch’s smaller, more personal works, he’s promising more of the same – a return to Ludum Dare game jams and “small web experiments” – but don’t expect another Minecraft. “If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction,” he writes, “I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”

Subject to any reviews and customary closing conditions, Microsoft expects the acquisition to close in late 2014. Owen from Mojang also wrote an open letter explaining the situation and answering a number of fan questions.

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