WATCH: Microsoft has made a big bid for Minecraft, a game that has been downloaded 100 million times since it launched in 2009. Some parents may think their kids spend too much time playing the game, but experts say there’s educational value in the game. Robin Gill explains.
TORONTO – Microsoft will buy Mojang, maker of the popular game Minecraft, for US$2.5 billion.
The technology company confirmed it will acquire the Stockholm-based game maker on Monday. The deal is expected to close in late 2014. Microsoft expects the acquisition to be break-even in fiscal 2015.
Minecraft is a “sandbox” game that allows users to build and interact with other users freely, without any scripts or goal-based gameplay.
The game has been downloaded 100 million times on PC alone since its launch in 2009. It is the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system in the U.S.
In a statement posted to its website, Mojang assured users that the future of Minecraft is important to both companies adding, “Everything is going to be ok.”
“We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way,” read the statement.
However, Minecraft creator Markus Persson – known as Notch by the gaming community –announced that he was leaving the company following the confirmation of the takeover deal.
According to Mojang’s statement, the 35-year-old game developer never intended for the game to have such massive success adding, “The pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle.”
Persson recently came under fire for tweeting about his frustrations of running the gaming company. The 35-year-old also publicly bashed Microsoft on Twitter when the company wanted to certify Minecraft in 2012.
“I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter,” wrote Persson in a blog post published shortly after the deal was confirmed.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”
As for what will happen to Minecraft now that Microsoft owns it – much is still unknown.
Mojang noted in its statement that there is no reason for Microsoft to halt development on competitor platforms, including PlayStation and iOS versions.
“Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests,” the company said.
But it seems the statement has done little to reassure Minecraft fans, as many have taken to Twitter to protest the move.
However, some Twitter users defended Persson’s decision to leave the company.
Even though he has left the company, Minecraft’s acquisition will make Persson a billionaire. According to a Forbes article, at 35-years-old he will become one of the youngest members of the 10-figure fortune club.
– With files from The Associated Press