Microsoft Building Minecraft Empire For $2.5 Billion
Microsoft announced today that it will be acquiring the popular world building game, Minecraft from its creator Mojang for $2.5 billion. The buyout made the rumor circles last week and was confirmed by Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, who stated the company had "long seen the incredible potential of Minecraft...[to add] diversity to our game portfolio and [help] us reach new gamers across multiple platforms." That diversification certainly comes with Minecraft, a casual game whose blocky, 8-bit look bears little resemblance to Xbox's most popular title, the Halo series. Buying Minecraft suggests that Microsoft is moving to become a stronger presence in the mobile marketplace as well. "Gaming is the top activity across devices," states Spencer, "and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise." This move will probably include porting an app version of Minecraft to work with the Windows phone in the future. Many fans of the game are seeing the recent purchase as an unwanted intrusion into their blocked world, an intrusion that might endanger the game's "indie" credibility and feel if the company takes too big a role in the game's future development or restrict the game to Xbox consoles only. It's a fear that was Minecraft creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, seemed to play upon today as we published a farewell letter to fans on notch.net, having decided to resign his CEO position at 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."Spencer's press release addressed fears that Microsoft would disrupt the game's continued development presumably because the company appears as the Goliath killing David. "We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great," states Spencer, "and we’ll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward." How Xbox plans to do this, Spencer was much less open about.