Microsoft has confirmed that Mojang and Minecraft will join its ranks, but it’ll continue to make the game available across iOS, Android and PlayStation as well as on Xbox and PC, the company announced today. Microsoft says that they started their conversation around bringing the title to the Xbox console, and from there witnessed their tremendous success and decided to make the acquisition to help “diversify [its] game portfolio.”
Founders Markus “Notch” Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakbok Porser are leaving the company following the acquisition, the team announced. Mojang’s official site also confirmed the previously reported purchase price of $2.5 billion. In their post, the Mojang community team says that Notch shied away from controlling such a globally influential company, and would prefer to work on smaller projects. The decision sell was designed to help Minecraft continue to grow while freeing up the founding team to pursue their other interests.
Mojang makes no assurances about the specific future plans in store for Minecraft, but says that for now it should be business as usual. Microsoft says it “respect[s] the brand and independent spirit” of Minecraft and will continue projects like MINECON, the annual convention focused on the game begun by Mojang back in 2010.
Community response to this news is bound to be mixed, and hardcore Minecraft fans who’ve been with the game since its humble beginnings are likely to distrust its new corporate owners, but reasoning behind the purchase is sound. At the very least, we’ll get the chance to see if Notch can repeat, and the next generation’s Lego equivalent all over again.
Here’s Notch’s own personal thoughts on the deal, and on departing the company he built, from his blog which had crashed at the time of this writing.:
I’m leaving Mojang
I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.
A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.
I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. 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.
As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.
Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.
I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.
I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.
It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.