By Jeff Neuenschwander / September 10th, 2014
It is being reported at this time that Microsoft is working to acquire Minecraft developer Mojang. It is believed that talks were initiated by Mojang founder Markus “Notch” Persson. Anonymous sources close to the talks say that the purchase will be for as much as $2 billion USD.
For those keeping score, this is more than 10 times the amount that Sega Sammy Holdings paid for Atlus last year and around twice the amount that Amazon just paid to acquire Twitch. However, there are a few reasons why that is. First, Index Holdings was out of money and begging for help, which immediately drops the price. Second, Amazon was probably negotiating the price as it compared to another recent business transaction dealing with online video content: Disney’s purchase of Maker Studios for at least $500 million. Third, it was reported this past June that Minecraft has sold 54 million copies across PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, and Raspberry Pi, putting it in third place in all-time sales behind Wii Sports (82 million) and Tetris (143 million across Game Boy, Game Boy Color, NES, and mobile platforms). Any future game that comes from them will probably have quite a following from the start. Fourth, they have Bill Gates’ money; they can spend it how they want.
It is believed that Notch initiated the deal based on his positive relationship with Xbox lead Phil Spencer as well as wanting to expand the base of Minecraft players through Microsoft’s position in the industry. While selling to a console maker may seem counter productive towards that goal, a person speaking for Microsoft has said that, after the deal is finalized, they will continue to sell the game on multiple platforms, including those of Sony.
From the Bloomberg report:
The company thinks that this kind of product, like its Office productivity software, has to be available with high-quality versions for multiple platforms, including those of its rivals, the person with knowledge of Microsoft’s thinking said.
This means that the company will continue to sell the game on PlayStation consoles, which Minecraft has already released on. No word of if Nintendo consoles will get it as well. While I don’t know for sure, the odds are probably low.
While no official word has been made, it is believed that a deal will be finalized as late as next week. We’ll let you know if somethings comes from this.
Markus PerssonMicrosoftMinecraftmojangNotchPhil Spencer