Yesterday Microsoft confirmed recent rumors it was buying Minecraft for 2.5 billion dollars. The deal announced on Monday will see the Redmond, WA company buying the wildly popular game along with its developer Mojang. Minecraft creator Notch will not be a part of the deal; he notes in a post he hasn’t had much to do with the game for some time and wants to focus on making games.
The deal is the first major purchase for Satya Nadella and it has some scratching their heads as to why Minecraft (especially for a few billion) and why now. At a luncheon held in Seattle, Nadella said he viewed the purchase in terms of buying a platform. It is a platform he also said, that is making inroads as an educational tool (Minecraft has an addition aimed at schools). Some have speculated the purchase was a way for Microsoft to use up money it has overseas and avoid the taxes it would pay to repatriate it. One article by Simon Bisson speculates the purchase was about reaching the next generation software developers.
Whatever the reason Microsoft has gained a strong intellectual property in Minecraft which has made as much as $317 million in sales alone as of 2013. It has also brought a property that has become more than a game with both merchandising and its own conference. The Mojang purchase from my vantage point serves to strengthen Microsoft in gaming (and is a coup for Xbox chief Phil Spencer) and also continues the trend of cross platform services. The potential worries are around potential fears by Minecraft players; already some are saying Microsoft will mess up their beloved 8bit land. To that a number of statements from Microsoft, Nadella, and Spencer have been assurances that Microsoft will not make serious changes to Minecraft.
It will be interesting to see how Minecraft be integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem.
Given the nature of this news I want to link to articles which can explain this a lot better than me:
image: TechCrunch and RGS Computing