Minecraft, one of the most popular video games in history, is on the verge of being acquired, as well as the title’s creator, by Microsoft. What this means for the popular game, which made over $100 million in profits for maker Mojang last year alone, could come along the lines of exclusivity on the company’s devices. The game is currently available on competitor Sony’s systems as well as tablets and Apple devices, but this deal may lead to an abandonment of those versions for first-party interests very soon.
The deal, which is still unconfirmed by either company, would sell the primary creator of the crafting game, Mojang, for $2 billion. There are many details to work out still, according to insiders watching the negotiations, and there is a possibility of the deal falling through, but many are expecting this to be done by the end of this or next week. Microsoft first came to the studio three months ago with their interest in purchasing the company, reported an anonymous person briefed on their discussions. Others had come in the years prior, according to Markus “Notch” Persson, co-founder of Mojang, and offered in the neighborhood of $1 billion, which Microsoft was aware of when making their pitch.
This offer is in direct contradiction with comments made from by the company founders over the years. The other founder of Mojang, Carl Manneh as early as last year said, “In our case, we have the cash flow. We [Mojang] have more money than we need.” Persson also said that outside revenue was not only needless but unwanted. In a tweet from 2012, Persson jested that his “price” was $2 billion and that for that amount he would “endorse your crap.”
Minecraft becoming a Microsoft exclusive could, potentially, leave a vast majority of tablet, Playstation and Apple users out of one of their favorite games. Microsoft is said to be making this move in part to compete with iPhone and Android devices specifically, according to advisors close to the negotiations. That would seem to imply that their “competition” would no longer have access to Mojang’s content should this deal proceed. Currently, the Microsoft Windows Store, which serves as their app store, does not even sell the popular game as the code has not been tailored to run on Windows phones or Windows 8 as of yet. The Xbox One home gaming console just received its own version last week.
Microsoft could, potentially, have an exclusive title in Minecraft which has sold 50 million copies since it first launched. The simple 1-by-1 blocks give users the ability to change the procedurally-generated world around them by mining and crafting as well as fighting and foraging. Despite the success, Mojang Studios is still considered an independent game developer that is looked up to by other studios. There are also reports saying that Persson is staying through the merger but will be departing the company after that. Microsoft has refused to comment on “rumors and speculation,” but those close to the deal say this merger is offering a more expansive base and help with marking Minecraft to customers everywhere. The game is now available on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, most tablets, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC and iOS devices.
By Myles Gann