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Confirming rumors from last week, today Microsoft announced it was buying Mojang, the Swedish game developer behind Minecraft. The cost of the acquisition is $2.5 billion, a purchase that Microsoft says will “break even” by next year. Furthermore, the founders of Mojang – Markus “Notch” Persson, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porsér – are leaving the company to pursue other projects.

According to Microsoft, the deal is expected to close before the end of this year, bringing Mojang under the company’s Microsoft Studios label. That means that Minecraft joins other game franchises like Halo and Fable. Interestingly, the creators of both of those franchises – Bungie Studios and Peter Molyneux, respectively – have also left Microsoft to pursue other projects.

Microsoft also says that it “plans to continue to make Minecraft available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.” That means that Minecraft won’t be going Windows Phone or Xbox exclusive, and that Microsoft just wants all of Minecraft’s revenue to be funneled directly into its own pockets.

Mojang also posted a little information about Notch’s reasoning for the sale and his subsequent departure from the company:

Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we’re massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch’s intention for it to get this big.

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. 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.”

Since the massive success of Minecraft, Mojang has yet to score as big a hit. Though, it should be noted, it’s hard to ever score a hit as big as Minecraft anyway.

What will the future hold for Notch and the rest of the gang? And what will Microsoft do with Minecraft now that it’s there? I mean, aside from simply collecting checks.

Maybe they’ll change the name to Minecrosoft.

[Microsoft, Mojang]


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