Mojang Studios was a company founded around one product — Minecraft. The success of Mojang has rested on those rocky foundations since its creation in late 2009. Over the summer of that year, Markus Persson began building the game and then published it within a few weeks. In 2014, Mojang was sold to Microsoft in a deal worth $2.5 billion. Under the Xbox Game Studios label, Minecraft has continued to grow, and now it is one of the most recognisable gaming IPs on the planet. But, how did we get to this point?
Minecraft was released on TIGSource forums
for free in the summer of 2009 after just a few weeks of development time by creator Markus Persson. Immediate success meant that Persson founded Mojang with a few of his former game-dev colleagues later that year. In May 2010, Minecraft was in an official Alpha state with constant updates. In under a year, the game went into a Beta. More free updates kept the game ticking for millions and millions of players already garnered before an official launch. This team already had put together the revenue stream to have an office in Stockholm and were presiding over one of the most valuable gaming IP in the world.
On September 14th, 2011, the "Adventure Update" arrived, prepping players for the arrival of a full 1.00 release on November 18th. Additionally, the Pocket Edition of Minecraft for Android
was released in 2011. The reign of Minecraft development was passed to Jens Bergensten, the lead on small side-project Catacomb Snatch. The raw success of Minecraft is nearly incalculable and this was all achieved in just two-and-a-half years of game development. From 2009 to 2011, Mojang mined, refined, and constructed Minecraft into an all-time gaming IP.
4J Studios released the Xbox 360 Edition
of Minecraft on May 9th, 2012, making it the first console edition. Later, the now legacy console editions for the PS3, Vita, Wii U, and Switch would be added to the pile. All were limited compared to the original PC edition, but Minecraft was now an easily accessible game to everyone. Mojang invested in developers for the servers and mods side of Minecraft in 2012 by acquiring CraftBukkit to assist the building an official mod API.
With a world-beating IP and smart company structure, Mojang is probably one of the most attractive acquisition propositions to have existed in video game history. The EULA regulations
regarding the profit made from Minecraft servers turned creator Notch cold on Minecraft, who then proceeded to offer the studio for sale in a tweet
. High profile publishers were involved — like EA, Activision Blizzard, and eventual buyer, Microsoft — so Notch decided to sell up his shares
. On September 15th, 2014, the long-term dealings between Mojang and Microsoft over Minecraft paid dividends. Microsoft finally bought Mojang Studios in a $2.5 billion deal, arguably one of the most important deals in gaming history.
Minecraft, since the acquisition, has been ticking over nicely with at least one major update every year. The Xbox One
and PS4 versions of the game launched in 2014. The Xbox One version was renamed the Bedrock Edition in 2018, with PS4 following suit a year later, with both boasting cross-play. The highly moddable and flexible PC Java version still probably sits on the top of the pile for those who want the most open-ended Minecraft experience.
Plenty of spin-offs have flexed Mojangs talent and ability to forge skilled partners to look after its immeasurably valuable IP. Minecraft: Education Edition is a learning tool for schools. Minecraft: Story Mode
was released by Telltale in 2015, featuring that tried and tested gameplay the studio is/was known for. Minecraft Dungeons
was released in 2020 as an all-new dungeon crawler to satiate those who wanted a different experience. With VR versions
of the game, as well as the now-cancelled AR version called Minecraft Earth in 2019 for Android and iOS. There really aren't that many limitations to the dimension Minecraft can be in. This repeated experimentation might not always have worked, but it has led to the Minecraft experience becoming one of the best-selling games of all time 240 million copies
, with over 140 million active users in 2021.