In one of the biggest acquisitions in recent game industry history, Microsoft has officially purchased Mojang, the developer of the hit computer and console game Minecraft. This is an enormous deal that was previously hinted some weeks ago, and has now come to fruition. Minecraft has enjoyed tremendous success as a crowdfunding trailblazer when an early playable version was first released in 2009, and was made available for sale shortly thereafter. Since then, the game has appeared on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console as well as on mobile platforms and has reportedly moved more than 50 million units in total.
While this seems like exciting news, for Mojang at least, it remains to be seen whether this acquisition will be a net positive for the developer in the future. It’s hard not to be reminded of another major game developer acquisition of Microsoft’s some 12 years ago: Rare, which the software giant acquired for $375M, after which the newly acquired developer struggled to make an impact. In addition, the original creator of Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson, has confirmed he will be leaving the company and will focus on smaller, independent projects. It’s not certain what the future holds for the newly-acquired Mojang, but it’s clear that Microsoft felt strongly that the studio will be a valuable asset to keep under lock and key.