The Average Gamer

Minecraft and Mojang Bought By Microsoft

Minecraft Zombie, Aaaaaaagh!
Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, has been purchased by Microsoft for US$2.5 billion. The sale was announced on and Mojang’s website today.

“At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people,” said Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in his announcement, sounding very much like the corporate overlord that he is. “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.”

Mojang’s announcement was far more human. “It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3

Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that.”

The leaving post from Markus “Notch” Persson, co-founder of Mojang, is just heartbreaking. I’ve posted an excerpt here but you should read the whole thing.

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.

So what does this mean for Minecraft itself? Good question. Spencer did confirm above that they’ll be continuing it across all platforms. But Microsoft aren’t spending $2.5 billion on a game. They’re buying the Minecraft brand, the one that brought hundreds of children and their families to the V&A museum in London for a day-long exhibition that featured swords, artwork and workshops about the game. They’re buying into a user base comprising millions of boys and girls. Media companies like Yogscast were built on this fanbase and the recent controversy over Terms of Service that Notch referenced in his post affected dozens of server companies, if not more. It’ll be interesting to see what Microsoft do with that power.