Microsoft has officially confirmed it is acquiring Mojang, the Swedish game studio behind Minecraft. Purchased at the rumored cost of $2.5 billion, the deal will include the majority of the Mojang development team, though notably company founders Carl Manneh, Jakbok Porser, and Markus "Notch" Persson will be leaving the company once the acquisition is completed.
In a post on the company blog, Mojang states the reason behind the purchase is because of the game's overall size. Persson has "decided that he doesn't want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance," with his work on smaller projects being affected by the pressure of Minecraft. In his own statement, Persson writes about how the game's size continued to impact his other development attempts, despite effectively handing over Minecraft development to others within the company.
Citing recent issues over the company's terms and conditions issues, Persson notes the "Internet exploded with hate" over an action he has no input on, later realizing he was a figurehead for the project. "I don't want to be responsible for something huge that I don't understand, that I don't want to work on, that keeps coming back to me," writes Persson, continuing "I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter." Persson claims he will be going back to "doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments" once the deal is finalized, ending the statement with "It's not about the money. It's about my sanity."
In Microsoft's statement, head of Xbox Phil Spencer advises that current work on Minecraft for all existing platforms will continue, including iOS, Android, and PlayStation, adding "Minecraft is one of the most popular franchises of all time. We are going to maintain Minecraft and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future." The fate of other projects, such as the card game Scrolls, remains uncertain, though items such as Minecon will continue to exist.
The purchase represents Microsoft's first acquisition initiated under the stewardship of Satya Nadella measurable in the billions of dollars. "Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year," advised Nadella. "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."
The acquisition of Mojang is expected to complete before the end of the year.