Microsoft’s purchase of Minecraft maker Mojang in a $2.5 billion deal may have fan-base feeling a little uneasy. Can Microsoft retain the massive accumulation of faithful Minecraft players?
It was announced yesterday that Microsoft has purchased Mojang, the company that created Minecraft, in a $2.5 billion deal. Though both parties seem content with the purchase, the decision comes with the departure of its creators and may have Minecraft players feeling a little uneasy.
The game, which is essentially the digital equivalent of Lego blocks that allows players to create their own worlds to be shared and edited by others, was originally introduced in 2009 for PCs. Since then it has accumulated a loyal fan base of players worldwide. Though the purchase could mean big revenue for Microsoft, as Minecraft continues to climb the ladder of success with over 50 million copies sold for PCs, licensing deals that produced top selling guidebooks through Scholastic Corp., toys from Lego A/S, and even an upcoming feature from Warner Bros – that may not be the reasoning behind the purchase. Minecraft is currently available on a multitude of platforms including Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox, but has yet to make its way to the Windows phone.
“Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Microsoft’s purchase of the game will not only ensure that it ends up on Windows phones, but has players concerned that the game could one day be exclusive to Microsoft products all together. Twitter exploded yesterday with tweets about the acquisition by Microsoft and few comments were positive. Despite concerns, Microsoft continues to reassure consumers of its plans to maintain the integrity of the game.
Mr. Nadella noted, “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.”
What comes—or doesn’t come—with the deal
Despite Microsoft paying big bucks for Minecraft, the deal will not include its creators. In a blog post on the Mojang website, the company announced that its founders would not remain with Mojang after it is purchased. In addition, they shed some light on what appears to be most of the reasoning behind the sale.
“As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance,” said Mojang’s Owen Hill. “Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.”
The game’s creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, said Monday on his blog that he has “no good response” to selling to Microsoft, but that he just wants to go back to being “a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.”
“It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity,” he wrote.
The post on Mojang’s blog included reassuring text for its fan base, which could confirm that the buzz around the sale has caused players to become uneasy.
“Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development. We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.” Mr. Hill said, addressing concerns about changes to the game and its features.
Though Mocrisoft declined to comment beyond its prepared remarks on Monday, it did respond to the backlash from fans who are less than thrilled about the purchase of Mojang.
“They should know from us that we come at this with a plan, and a real cornerstone of that plan is listening to the feedback from the Minecraft community on what they’d like to see,” Microsoft executive Phil Spencer said in an online video released by the company. He said that Microsoft will do whatever it takes to retain the loyalty of Minecraft devotees.
Only time will tell whether or not this will be the case, now that Microsoft holds the building blocks to Minecraft.