Made official early this morning, Microsoft is set to purchase Mojang, the makers of Minecraft, for a smooth $2.5 billion dollars. In Minecraft, a survival sandbox game, players must forge and build whatever they see in their imaginations, using blocks that they collect with pickaxes, axes, shovels, and swords.
Over the course of just a few years, Minecraft has grown from a small community of players to an entire marketing machine, complete with versions available on many platforms, as well as merchandise in Target and countless other retailers. Since 2009, Minecraft has seen 100 million+ downloads on PC alone, with nearly 2 billion hours played on the Xbox 360. In terms of popularity, not many recent games stack up to Minecraft.
In a blog post, Mojang states its top founders, Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving the team. However, in a bit of eerie news, the team does not exactly provide information as to what the future holds for the game. Instead, the team remains optimistic that nothing will change, but can’t exactly come out and say that everything will be peaches and cream. Mojang states, “We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.”
While that may sound fine and dandy, another passage hints that with Microsoft gaining complete control, Mojang can do little to shape the future of the title. “There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.”
On a personal level, this news is somewhat saddening. I began playing Minecraft when it was still an early beta, purchasing a key for $20 back in the day. The game was very different, and at first, was kinda boring. Thanks to countless updates, on top of a younger generation now playing, the game has evolved into a culture of its own. To see it purchased for $2.5 billion, with its founders giving up complete control to the corporate folks at Microsoft, I might go as far as to say that this game is officially dead to me.
What is your take? Do you think Minecraft will continue to grow and dominate the Twitch livestreams? Will its user base feel somewhat turned off by its new owners?
Share your opinions below.