The rumors have been floating around for several days now, but this morning Microsoft officially purchased Mojang, the developer of worldwide sensation, Minecraft. The price? A cool 2.5 billion dollars. *
* Interesting footnote: Microsoft expects this acquisition to break even by the end of the 2015 fiscal year. In case you didn't know how much moola the franchise generates.
In a statement on the Xbox Wire, Phil Spencer dispensed with any debate on whether or not Minecraft would stay multiplatform (at least on Microsoft's end):
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.Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, like many others, sees Minecraft as more than just a game:
Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.In a statement on their website, Mojang also answers a few questions on their end. Of particular interest is the admission that the sale was partly motivated by Markus "Notch" Persson's desire to branch out and work on new, smaller projects (as Minecraft was once upon a time), but the pressures and responsibilities of owning Minecraft made that infeasible. They've also said that (while it's early and subject to change) they expect most of the staff at Mojang will be staying on, but the founders: Notch, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porsér will be departing the company.
Microsoft expects the deal to close by the end of 2014.