Today could be the day of a significant shift for the gaming landscape as Microsoft has agreed to buy Mojang and therefore its landmark title, Minecraft for $2.5 billion. Let’s look at what it means for Minecraft’s immediate and long-term prospects, and why it happened.
First, the why. Mojang’s founders – particularly, Markus “Notch” Persson – wanted out. Notch penned a nice explanatory post on his blog (that quickly crashed under the traffic stampede) laying out why he made this decision. He points out the game having gotten so much larger than he could or wanted to handle, and that this high profile public status wasn’t something he desired as two of his major points for the sale. This makes sense to me, and I can understand his logic here. Minecraft was something he originally made as a fun hobby that has exploded beyond one man’s capacity to grasp its social and cultural ramifications. Despite having not worked on the game in quite some time, he was still the face of Minecraft, and all things, good and (especially) bad came back to him. He wanted out, a chance to get back to some semblance of a normal life, and I can respect that.
What does this mean for Minecraft, though? The first question on many people’s mind was towards the game’s many ports on ‘rival’ hardware, such as the recently released PlayStation 4 version. As far as I have heard, Microsoft isn’t planning to discontinue these, but that’s far from certain, plus there’s a chance that Sony may object to having a Microsoft-brand title on their systems. There is also a new concern towards micro transactions and DLC making their way into Minecraft now. Unfortunately, no one at this time knows what Microsoft has planned. With no real information from Microsoft, all we can do is speculate.
You can read more on the acquisition on mojang.com.