Microsoft finally did the damn thing. After weeks of speculation that the multi-billion dollar tech company planned on scooping up Mojang, the studio responsible for the immensely successful game Minecraft, the deal is finally sealed. So what does this mean for your favorite lego-simulator? We're not sure yet, but we do know that creator of Minecraft, Markus Persson (notch), is parting ways with the company - which was purchased earlier this week for the whopping sum of $2.5 billion dollars. It's not exactly a surprising move, and it's important to remember that Notch had stepped away from his duties with Minecraft years ago. In December 2011, Notch announced he was backing away from his position as lead developer, leaving the updates in the competent hands of the new lead developer Jens "Jeb" Bergensten, who has been running the major content updates of the game since then. In that case, why sell the company at all? Persson was certainly making money from his game, and he had little to no responsibility for the maintenance of the franchise. Sit back and watch the treasury fatten, It seems like a pretty good deal, right?
It's imperative that we take into consideration that Notch is a living, breathing, person - just like the rest of us. In an open blog entry entitled, "I'm Leaving Mojang", he explains how he sees his role in the gaming industry and elaborates that sometimes the situations you create can get out of hand very quickly. In the post Notch says, "I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world." It's not hard to imagine the type of stress that comes with being the icon of one of the largest games to ever exist. Notch goes on to say, "I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change."
All of this news begs the question, "Why did Microsoft want Minecraft/Mojang so badly?". The answer may lie in the strength of the brand, and the sales numbers that the title boasts. As of the posting of this article, Minecraft has sold nearly 54 million copies across the PC, Mac, and console versions. Add to this figure the downloadable skin packs and plethora of merchandise, from t-shirts and legos, to foam swords and vinyl figures - and it's clear that there is a lot of money yet to be extracted from the Minecraft brand. Is this a last ditch effort by Microsoft to bolster their lacking Windows Phone app store? In part, probably. However, with a brand this big, it is likely that Microsoft is wagering their bets on the longevity of the IP. That being said, only time will tell if this acquisition will prove to be a win-win for Microsoft and the Minecraft community at large.
What do you think? Will this change the landscape of the game and the community that surrounds it? Leave your comments below.