The sale had been rumoured over the past several days, but now, Minecraft creator, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson has confirmed that the dotted line has been signed; Microsoft has acquired Mojang and the Minecraft IP, for $2.5 billion.
Fans may be led to believe that Notch made the decision for the money, but he’s been quick to quash that notion. He claims, “It’s not about the money, it’s about my sanity.” Notch claims that he never intended for Minecraft to be the huge worldwide phenomenon that it now is, nor did he ever intend to change gaming. He relates a story about how a slew of Minecraft players recently became angry with him over some EULA changes that he had nothing to do with and wasn’t even aware of, and simply claims that he can’t be in charge of something as big as Minecraft.
Naturally, this is also Notch’s public letter of resignation from Mojang. Now that Microsoft owns the company, Notch will have left it to pursue his own interests, and will no longer be affiliated with Minecraft in any way. He claims that he will still develop video games, but if anything shows signs of gaining the momentum that Minecraft did, he’ll abandon it early.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that a developer of an indie game that they never intended to become a huge success has retreated from their creation. Doug Nguyen, the creator of mobile game sensation, Flappy Bird, removed his game from mobile storefronts, claiming that he was overwhelmed, and that people’s addictions to the game were something that he didn’t want on his conscience. Since then however, Flappy Bird has returned to sale, albeit exclusively on Amazon’s TV Fire platform.
The sale of Mojang to Microsoft apparently won’t result in the removal of Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition from retail or the PlayStation Store, nor the recently-released Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition, at least for now. It may however put Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition in jeopardy, depending on Microsoft’s terms, as Sony’s handheld port of the game still lingers in extended development. The sale will also no doubt destroy any hope of Minecraft coming to Nintendo’s 3DS or Wii U platforms at this point.
Initially released on PC and mobile devices in 2011, Minecraft released on the Xbox 360 digitally in 2012, with a retail package for Microsoft’s last-gen console arriving in 2013. The game just recently came to Xbox One at the start of this month, after slipping out of its planned August 2014 release window, alongside Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition. The massively acclaimed sandbox creation IP now belonging to Microsoft should provide a key asset in boosting the Xbox platform most of all, as well as potentially Windows as a gaming-ready OS, and Microsoft’s own Windows smartphones and tablets.
What do you think of Mojang being bought out by Microsoft? Do you think something as huge as Minecraft should or should not be restricted to Xbox platforms? Are you saddened at Notch’s departure? As usual, your comments are welcome below.
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