By: Stephen Duetzmann
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft is participating in talks to purchase Mojang, the Swedish game developer best known for its smash hit Minecraft. The deal, according to sources “with knowledge of the matter,” would be worth more than $2 billion (No. That is not a typo. Two BILLION Dollars.)
It is not surprising that Microsoft would try to make this move. Its newest home console, the Xbox One, has done well since it launched last year, but has struggled compared to the PlayStation 4. Microsoft has been quiet about sales numbers, but their last reports from back in April showed approximately 5 million units shipped to stores. We can safely assume more have sold since then, but I can’t imagine why Microsoft wouldn’t be shouting from the mountaintops if they were doing even close to as well as the PlayStation 4’s 10 million plus install base. Bolstering their lineup of studios that are producing exclusive content would be a very strong play and owning the Minecraft name and all of the licensing that goes with it would be a great source of income.
With all that said, it is very surprising that Mojang would consider the deal. They are generating a great deal of income from Minecraft sales and merchandise alone and have insisted on remaining independent for years. It is possible that Minecraft is such a phenomenon that they could sustain their company almost indefinitely based on that success alone. Mojang’s founder Marcus “Notch” Persson has also expressed strong (and less than positive) opinions of big corporations like Microsoft and Facebook as well.
We don’t know all of the details of the sale yet (including whether or not it will happen), but the Wall Street Journal is far from unreliable. It will be interesting to see what happens to the franchise in the future if/when it goes through.
Minecraft’s success has been helped significantly by its universality. It has appeared on just about every platform imaginable since its release. It remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft would attempt to flex their muscles and restrict that. One thing is all but certain though; Mojang would be starting work on Minecraft 2 shortly and THAT would be an Xbox One and PC exclusive.
What do you think of this potential sale? Sound off in the comments!