Microsoft has today announced that the company has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the Stockholm-based developer of the popular video game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion after reports and rumors about the acquisition began circulating online. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, released a statement on the acquisition:
Our relationship with Mojang began when we initially talked to the team about bringing Minecraft to the console. Minecraft quickly became the top online game on Xbox Live, with over two billion hours played on Xbox 360 in the last two years. That working relationship set the ground work for other opportunities. We’ve long seen the incredible potential of Minecraft.
As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.
In addition to all this, the founders of Mojang — including Markus “Notch” Persson — are leaving, though the majority of the staff is expected to stay on “for the time being.” Perrson added a note (mirror) to his personal site on the decision to sell:
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.
Thrilled to welcome the Minecraft community to the MSFT family & excited about the open-world possibilities ahead! http://t.co/es1eMMYOEr
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) September 15, 2014