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Microsoft to buy Mojang - report

By Rachel Weber

Microsoft to buy Mojang - report

Tue 09 Sep 2014 10:36pm GMT / 6:36pm EDT / 3:36pm PDT
Publishing

$2 billion deal could be signed this week [UPDATE] Notch instigated negotiations, will likely leave Mojang once it completes

Update: Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson may have instigated the negotiations with Microsoft, after reaching out to the company several months ago.

Many within the games industry and the games press have reacted with surprise at the possibility of Microsoft acquiring Mojang, not least because Persson has been openly critical of the company in the past. However, Bloomberg's sources have claimed that Persson actually proposed the deal in the first place, largely due to a "positive working relationship" and a "close relationship" with Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

According to Bloomberg, Persson will remain at Mojang to see the deal and subsequent merger through to completion, but will likely depart once that has happened.

Original Story: Unconfirmed reports suggest that Microsoft could be about to secure a massive deal with the purchase of Minecraft studio Mojang.

Neither Mojang or Microsoft have made any public announcement regarding the story but the Wall Street Journal cites "a person with knowledge of the matter" who claims the sale is worth $2 billion and could be signed and sealed this week.

The news is unexpected, Mojang has always seemed to be a company that prided itself on its independence with Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson as its outspoken leader.

In March it was revealed that Mojang made $129 million in profit in 2013, so it's not hard to see why Microsoft might be interested.

GamesIndustry.biz has contacted Mojang for clarification and will update this story as it develops.

Developers are already reacting to the news on social media sites, and the reaction has been one of disbelief and caution as yet.

From GamesIndustry.biz Recommendations by Taboola

38 Comments

Ron Dippold Software/Firmware Engineer

66 219 3.3
Popular Comment
What the heck does MS get from this besides the Minecraft name? Do they even know?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ron Dippold on 10th September 2014 12:07am

Posted:A year ago

#1

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,550 1,568 0.6
Well, so much for any other versions of the game on anything else, I guess. I hope it's not true, as I don't even want to KNOW how the more core fans of the game will react. Then again, the industry money folk never take that into consideration in these deals. if the dollars look great and are great, that's the thing, right?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

470 338 0.7
If it is true Microsoft would release on PC, they tend to not see PC as competition as they own the OS anyway.
Still that is a lot of money for one game franchise.

Posted:A year ago

#3
Let's see how the dust settles....could be strstegic, could be MS has loads and loads of spare change, and want to do something positive with it :)

Posted:A year ago

#4

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
They'd never take Minecraft off of the money train. To be honest, they'd probably just let the golden goose continue to pop out golden eggs. Also, the Rare thing again. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times; Rare's talent left the studio before the acquisition. That's why Nintendo sold them. Because the golden goose got sick, they sold it before it got a chance to pop out a rotten egg. Nintendo played rough on that deal, and I commend them for it.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Shane Sweeney Academic

494 585 1.2
Popular Comment
A new Minecraft must be in the works? Minecraft 2?

Almost all the money has already been extracted from the original release, I don't know why Microsoft would see 2 billion dollars worth of value on anything but another Minecraft.

Anything else is an untested franchise from a developer who has only one success.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,170 1,950 1.7
This is one rumor that wouldn't make any sense UNLESS(and I think this is what Nick was alluding to) they decided to do what they did when they purchased Skyp and allowed it to stay on all it's previous platforms. Just think about it, every copy sold on PS3/PS4 would be money in Microsoft's pockets. And then they might as well finally release a 3DS/Wii U version and make money on that too.

As interesting of a theory as that is the only thing I see coming from this announcement initially is more Microsoft hate, even if they allow the game to continue being made for other platforms. Personally I think Mojang should stay independent because they are doing well enough that they don't need an acquisition but only they know whats best for them. And besides, it's still unconfirmed....for now.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

534 801 1.5
Popular Comment
Nice of you to insult everyone still working at Rare, Nick.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Justin Shuard J - E translator

49 183 3.7
Popular Comment
Minecraft 2 could easily become one of the most important system sellers in this generation.
Would it really? Improving the graphics won't really do anything, and I'm struggling to think of what features the current version lacks.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,431 1,767 1.2
Minecraft 2? Don't be silly. It is going to be Minecraft One and the new thing you do is watch TV from inside the game. Likers gonna like.

Posted:A year ago

#10
I certainly agree that actually the move would make sense for MS for many reasons like long term cash flow or increased profits that would show in the stock price. One interesting thing might also be that this would be a way to spend overseas cash, which these huge companies like Apple and MS need to keep outside of US in order to avoid taxes. Weird world!

From Mojang / Notch perspective many would feel that this is greedy as these guys dont need money. On the other hand, this maybe a way to reward Mojang employees for their hard work by giving them stock just before the sale. Again, quite tax effective compared to give cash bonuses that would not make sense knowing Swedish taxation. Notch probably wouldnt need money for his personal use, but if he has great ideas how to change the world, an extra billion or two can certainly be helpful to give a push to a right direction.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Shane Sweeney Academic

494 585 1.2
MMO style world, proper auction houses? Maybe micro transactions for new horses?
Anyone else dare to guess?

Posted:A year ago

#12

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

687 449 0.7
What I find hilarious is that finally, after eighteen months the PlayStation fanboys have something legitimate to bitch ABIUT, instead of spreading FUD and I'll informed information, and thry just spent all that energy on Tomb Raider. Needless to say, my pity is at about zero, and I dont even like Minecraft. My big question is whether they're going to think it's really funny for Sony users to be paying them. I expect not as funny as the shitfits they're about to throw that will make Tomb Raider look like a part y game

@greg Wilcox

They get what is one of the top,brands with kids 4-14. Movies, toys, bed sheets, happy meals, Oh, and of course exclusivity on all future versions. I assume Mojang has contracts with Sony that must be fulfilled, but if Microsoft can pull the PlayStation versions I'm sure they will ASAP. They certainly WINT be updating them at the very least

@Bernie, no royalties on PC, they don't care. Cutting out Apple would be suicide. Do they sell minecraft through steam or just the Mojang store?

@Justin I'd say Project Spark would get a huge boost from a years delay and being called Minecraft World. The tools are excellent, but for sonce reason it keeps being ignored

@ikari excellent point, and with the growing movement in the US to make them pay on it anyway, a good way to make

@shane. All good ideas, I'm sure they've already got a good idea of which way they're going, because they're going to want to turn and burn it fast.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert

178 5 0.0
I must agree with Mr. Sweeney here. There is still a lot of potential to improve minecraft.
Making it a "real" RPG (not just some Features they added in the past) and with "future" graphics it could be a big diffrence to it's Prequel. And not to Forget it could be a different IP all along. Mojang is a synonym for minecraft but the potential to build new ideas and especially new IPs is something they are deffinetly up to.
If this is really true, just give'em a chance. And don't Forget on how many platforms Skype is available. And not to forget mostly all Office programs are available for Apple and some for Android. Microsoft is just building new first Party developers wich is on first sight a good thing even if it affects indie Studios (wich mojang isn't part of anymore- anyway)

And of course- it could all be just a big hoax that tries to swim in the "hatestream" they got from the Tomb Raider deal.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Mats Holm Technical Writer, Electronic Arts

67 56 0.8
Popular Comment
Ah, the good old days: Notch - "I'd rather have minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to win 8 that way.." I guess with enough money everyone will play along.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Ruud Van De Moosdijk VP of Development, Engine Software

52 58 1.1
I wonder what happened to the "we love our independence" stance Mojang had. It is not like they are wanting for money, so financially I don't see their motivation for selling. I guess they are just done with Minecraft and couldn't come up with any new ideas so why not take a boatload of cash and sell it. Mojang will simply cease to exist and Minecraft will be a MS property, which will remain a cash cow for a long time. Of course it also needs to be a cash cow for a long time to make back 2 billion dollars. Usually MS really knows what they are doing...not so sure recently though.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,431 1,767 1.2
No good can come from a Minecraft sequel trying to ape the tropes of other games, particularly the MMO genre.

Maybe we are getting everything wrong. Maybe there will be no Minecraft sequel, but instead a comedy reality TV show about the insanity of the world's biggest cooperation taking over one of the smallest development studios.Could be quite hilarious, actually and potentially easier to make back those $2 billion than with trite monetization schemes..

Posted:A year ago

#17

Ruud Van De Moosdijk VP of Development, Engine Software

52 58 1.1
Christian, I understand the reference, but it is quite a difference: a well established professional independent game studio that gets purchased by a big publisher for its properties and talent, or basically a two man indie outfit that have made one game being bought for 2 billion, just to have the property. Especially seeing as how anti-corporate and "loving-our-independence" their previous rhetoric always has been.

[edit]
Let me put it this way: Mojang as a company (outside of the Minecraft property) is completely and utterly worthless. /discuss

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ruud Van De Moosdijk on 10th September 2014 2:27pm

Posted:A year ago

#18

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,510 3,183 1.3
$129 million in profit per year. $2 billion purchase.

Do they seriously expect Minecraft to keep making $130 million in profit over the next 16 years?

Posted:A year ago

#19

Shane Sweeney Academic

494 585 1.2
Klaus, jokes aside. An animated kids Minecraft TV show is very much on message for Microsoft as well.

The Creeper is iconic and it's a massive brand if capitalized.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Mats Holm Technical Writer, Electronic Arts

67 56 0.8
@Christian - You mean when they were owned by Elevation Partners? The investing company who was run by the former EA CEO John Riccitiello?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mats Holm on 10th September 2014 3:13pm

Posted:A year ago

#21

Ruud Van De Moosdijk VP of Development, Engine Software

52 58 1.1
I know what you meant Christian... :) I was trying to point out that BioWare got bought for property AND the talent within the studio. Buying Mojang is buying an empty company, thus it really is only about the Minecraft property (which might well be worth 2 billion, not argument there).

Posted:A year ago

#22

Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital

59 53 0.9
Actually now that Minecraft now has integrated Twitch streaming and that "Minecraft-Realms" provide official server support, Minecraft is actually ticking a lot of boxes for the push towards cloud-based gaming and streaming the Sony and MS seem to be after.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext

169 118 0.7
I can see a lot of reasons for MicroSoft to acquire Mojang/Minecraft. I can even understand Markus deciding to take the cash and move on. However, the $2B pricetag doesnt make sense, unless we are missing something. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
Dave, my apologies for the words, but I can't seriously compare Kinect Star Wars with Rare's older titles. It's nothing personal at all.

On topic, I do like the idea of branding the creepers and what-not, but that's still not enough money. Maybe a Minecraft 2 that works with Project Spark's assets? I know a lot of people that would like Minecraft if only it was a bit better in the technical department.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Jordan Lund Columnist

95 224 2.4
It's not just Minecraft - the game. It's Minecraft - the IP.

Whoever owns the IP stands to make more money off foam pickaxes, t-shirts, hats and foam Creepers than off the game itself.

Up to a point. Look at how the Angry Birds merchandise train ended...

Posted:A year ago

#26

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

348 475 1.4
@Nick : you seem to be forgetting the existence of Viva Pinata?

Posted:A year ago

#27

Jason Alexander Level Designer

8 6 0.8
@Nick: Kinect Star Wars was not developed by Rare (you may be thinking of Kinect Sports)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jason Alexander on 10th September 2014 8:20pm

Posted:A year ago

#28

Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts

215 85 0.4
I think Rare was and still is a great studio, Kinect Sports 1 & 2, Banjo Kazooie, Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark are all in the last 10 years post acquisition. None of them are bad and most are in the very good to excellent bracket.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

687 449 0.7
Jordan, I agree with you on Angry Birds, but I would argue apples and oranges.

Minecraft is a social, interactive experience akin to playing Legos with your friends. Angry Birds are inherently solitary. Minecraft is just a very different, forgive m, bird. Angry birds Lu's about beating your scores on the same levels,m Minecraftvis about making those levels with your buddies and like playing Shyrim like an MMO, THEY DONT SEEM TO BE FETTING TIRED OF IT

Curated carefully,

Posted:A year ago

#30

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

499 1,241 2.5
Makes sense to sell it if you done what you've wanted to accomplish with a product, and some one comes along and offers to way way over pay you for it. Its good to sell at the peak of bubbles.

You would think corps would learn, perhaps after this next upcoming tech/market Fed bubble collapse they will.

Smart to ask for 2 billion in cash, and not mega overinflated stocks.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 10th September 2014 9:21pm

Posted:A year ago

#31

Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital

59 53 0.9
That's a good point, my local UK supermarket has three of the Official Minecraft Handbooks on the shelves in the small (therefore very selective) book section.

Posted:A year ago

#32

Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,170 1,950 1.7
So it is true. Looks like Xbox One just got another killer exclusive that I have no interest in. Luckily for them I'm in the minority. I also just realized that this is also the amount Facebook paid for Oculus. But if Microsoft markets this correctly(all future games and merchandise from the IP) they stand to make a much better return on their investment as it's already a proven seller/brand.

The only advice I'd give to Microsoft is to allow the PC and PS3/PS4 versions to remain in the retail channel. It's more money that they can put towards making this 2 billion back. If they want to cut off updates and additional content for those versions thats one thing but I think they should allow them to remain a part of the much larger cash cow that is Minecraft. But obviously those platforms won't be seeing Minecraft 2...except for maybe a Windows PC version. But all in all this is a very big win for Microsoft.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 11th September 2014 8:51pm

Posted:A year ago

#33

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,113 1,217 1.1
Sometimes I buy games on sale out of boredom and curiosity, maybe MS does the same with companies but skipping the "on sale" part.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Abraham Tatester Producer

76 76 1.0
@Rachel, I'm surprised (and disappointed) you all didn't update this story by week's endif only because you said the deal could have been signed by then. I guess that means you haven't heard any confirmation about this from either side...?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Abraham Tatester on 13th September 2014 10:45pm

Posted:A year ago

#35

Ben Furneaux Designer, Turbulenz Limited

116 55 0.5
*cough* Oort Online *cough*

Posted:A year ago

#36

Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

120 211 1.8
I can't imagine Minecraft would be dead in the water on non-MS platforms if this came to pass, but even if they did cease updates to all other versions, this is one of the most cloned games of all time. Within 6 months there'd be plenty of other options along very similar lines on every affected platform, I'm sure.

Posted:A year ago

#37

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

348 475 1.4
confirmed by mojang

https://mojang.com

Posted:A year ago

#38

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