It was reported this week that technology giants Microsoft are in talks with indie game developer studio Mojang, for an estimated $2 billion purchase. As of June 2014 Mojang’s popular game ‘Mincecraft’ had reached 54 million sales across: PC, iOS, Android, the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 platforms. Since then the game has recently been released on Playstation 4 and Xbox One, that has no doubt increased the sales further, as well as a Playstation Vita version planned for future release.
It has been suggested that Markus “Notch” Persson is selling out to Microsoft by some members of the Minecraft community. After “Notch” personally attacked Microsoft prior to the release of their Windows 8 operating system, and in 2012 he voiced his opinion on independent studios stating: “The more studios that can remove themselves from the publisher system, the more games that will be made out of love rather than for profit." Although it is now rumoured that “Notch” was the one to reach out to Microsoft first, a few months ago, and it also seems that Persson has no particular interest in staying with the studio after the purchase takes place.
It’s no surprise that Microsoft has taken interest in the purchase of Mojang, with the studio bringing in more than $100 million in profit last year from the game as well as it’s popular merchandise. The purchase wouldn’t only give Microsoft access to the Minecraft game, but also the Minecraft brand as it has created many forms of merchandise from plushes to t-shirts and even Lego sets. It would also include the studio’s popular Minecraft Convention “Minecon”, which attracts fans from around the world. The Minecraft game, currently on Xbox 360, has reached over 12 million downloads, making one Microsoft’s best-selling games on the platform.
This in spite of its release being only over 2 years ago, and most likely aiding Microsoft in this decision. It has been considered that the game would still be published across all current platforms and that it would be too much of a risk to keep the game both PC and Xbox console exclusive.
Both Mojang and Microsoft have refused to comment on the rumoured purchase.