TheirCraft: Microsoft Buying Mojang, Notch Leaving

Edit #2: updated to include Microsoft’s video statement.

Edit: updated to include Notch’s statement regarding the sale and his own departure from Mojang.

Speculation occasionally has a basis in fact. A few minutes ago, Minecraft creators Mojang confirmed that Microsoft’s purchase of the company is going ahead. The price? Two and a half billion dollars. The reason?

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.

The company founders will be leaving the company and Notch has released a statement (notch.net down, pastebin link supplied) regarding the sale and his own future – “It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity”.

Notch appears to have been craving an escape from scrutiny for some time and while this move won’t immediately grant that to him (or the other founders, to a lesser extent), I’m pleased to see that the management (or perceived management) such a behemoth is out of his hands. The weight of public opinion, particularly in an age of instant and constant communication, can be destabilising and even destructive. In many cases, it pushes against creativity, causing doubt and applying pressure. Notch captures some of that when he talks about ‘becoming a symbol’.

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

The full statement is here.

Microsoft released their own video with XBox head Phil Spencer discussing the acquisition, along with some words designed to re-assure the community. It’s low on specifics, though the company is keen to stress that they’ll listen to the Minecraft community with anything they do.

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.

Minecraft will always be important and whatever the acquisition means for the game’s (franchise’s?) future, years of lovely history are already burned into the collective memory of the world. For every giant penis tower that someone has constructed, there have been many moments of creative and communal brilliance. Even I, the most cackhanded of architects, once built a little house with proper windows and a chimney and everything. And I sometimes get a bit carried away and misty eyed when I’m sitting watching the rain at night and that one piece of music starts to play.

Bees, so as to keep up our ratio.

But what of the future?

There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.

I’m not Michael Soft and I don’t even know the guy personally, but if I’d just bought something for two and a half billion dollars, I’d probably be quite keen to make my version of it the best possible version. By which I mean, the version that was most likely to provide some payback on the investment. By which I mean, the Vita version would never receive a patch again.

Good job I’m not in charge of things, eh? As the following quote clearly states, every version of the game will continue happily.

“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”

Except…

Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.

Suddenly I’m reminded of a scene from the version of Boardwalk Empire that I imagine exists instead of watching the actual show. In that scene, a gangster pounds his palm with a baseball bat and speaks out of the only side of his mouth that has ever smiled.

“Of course, you and your boys can carry on working the South Pier, that’s none of our business and we ain’t sticking our noses where they don’t belong. But if youse do intend on selling that piss you call liquor, don’t be surprised if accidents start to occur on a reg’lar basis. Lots of rotten boards on the boardwalk and plenty of shadows on the water. But you do what you need to do – me and my associates can’t make your decisions for you, or predict the choices that you might make in the future.”

My understanding of business is about as strong as my understanding of Boardwalk Empire (there’s a South Pier, right? There are rotten boards on the boardwalk?) but, like I said, if I’d spent two and a half billion dollars, I’d want to keep at least one slice of the pie to myself.

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178 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    Having got into playing this with the gf, which has actually been quite wonderful, I do feel a little fear that ‘the magic is going to die’.

    We’ll see won’t we. As long as the PC version stays as is (even vanilla 1.8) I won’t complain.

    • Leb says:

      Even if it takes a turn for the downhill… previous versions will always be available. Unless MS stops client validation on those. In which case previous yar har har versions will always be available.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        I wonder if we’ll ever see the modding API now.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          No offense to Jens & co, but I think this improves our chances of seeing the mod API.

          No seriously, think about it: What is the number one best thing that Microsoft is good at making besides operating systems? Tools. It will suck if the Mod API only gets support on Windows platforms, and/or if we have to purchase it separately, but we’ll get it.

    • Bigmouth Strikes Again says:

      Never marry her. That’s how you keep the magic.

  2. Hairball says:

    something, something, Psychonauts 2

  3. Stellar Duck says:

    I’m going to be honest now.

    I have absolutely no idea how to form an opinion on this.

    Should I be outraged? Baffled? Happy? Curious? I haven’t the faintest idea…

    • amateurviking says:

      here’s what she said to meeeeee:

    • RARARA says:

      You’re supposed to act the same way Notch acted towards Occulus Rift when they were sold to Facebook for $2 billion, I suppose.

      Edit: That was aimed to be a playful poke, please don’t start a hatefest on my account.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        In all seriousness, the major difference is that Notch had backed Oculus for the maximum amount, and it he made the point that if they had intended to sell out like that, it was disingenuous to go to Kickstarter instead of seeking proper investors.

        Conversely, Minecraft development was funded 100% on the equivalent of pre-orders(they weren’t, and it wasn’t quite early access either, but let’s not nitpick). The difference is that even for KS projects that treat a reward tier as pre-orders, it’s really donations. Seeking donations instead of investors when you intend to sell out is shady at best.

        • Premium User Badge

          Wisq says:

          To be fair, getting bought out (or “selling out” if you want) does generally require that your company’s product be promising enough to buy. Sometimes creating that product requires money, and Kickstarter can help with that.

          They can perhaps be critiqued for not making it clear that this was a possibility, but sometimes unexpected things happen.

        • quintesse says:

          Nice to know that when you are a KS project with basically no money to call your own and you get bought for 2 billion so you can create the best kick-ass product possible you’re considered a sell-out, but when you’ve created a game that has a huge modding community, got pretty rich because of it and you get bought by MS for 2.5 billion you aren’t. /sarcasm

          • El_Emmental says:

            Nice to know that when you are a KS project with basically no money to call your own [except several millions of dollars from pledgers, private investors and pre-orders] and you get bought [by a data-mining marketing company with shady business practices] for 2 billion so you can create the best kick-ass product possible [not guaranteed to happen] you’re considered a sell-out, but when you’ve created a game that has a huge modding community, got pretty rich because of it [and the low price, and the lack of actions taken against the massive piracy by teenagers with no online payment options or very little pocket money, and the free updates, and the free (as in freedom) moddability of the title] and you get bought by MS for 2.5 billion you aren’t. /sarcasm

            Modding communities don’t appear out of thin air.

            Notch made sure to make Minecraft completely moddable (both on the modders side and mods players side), when nearly all other companies would have sold DLCs/expansion packs for new blocks/items/monsters.

            Notch (and Mojang) refused to do that, missing on short-term money – they let modders do whatever they wanted, and even let them SELL (for real hard cash) their mods on private servers (the EULA update was just to prevent blatant abuses by these servers – you can still sell your mods for cash).

            Notch/Mojang decided to simply let the players buy the game once and get an unlimited access to all future updates, all mods and other community-content. That was a risky move for an indie title starting to be a little successful (at the beginning – it could have suffered the fate of all the ephemeral indie games, falling into oblivion after the first 3 months), but it finally worked out.

            It might sounds logical and normal to you that a developer/publisher would allow its users to create custom content and even create complete mods (with new gameplay mechanics), but that’s something extremely rare that requires a massive effort by the devs/publisher.

    • GameCat says:

      It’s Internet, so you should start talking about how huge sellout Notch is and that’s making you angry and you will boycott all his upcoming games, but don’t worry, you will buy them anyway.

    • Chalky says:

      I’m going with vaguely interested.

      You can’t really complain, it’s not like the game is the pinnacle of coding quality at the moment and it’s having real trouble getting traction on features that have been promised for a very long time. Putting an experienced development team, or at least more resources behind the existing developers, will hopefully produce some interesting results.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Je veux seulement l’oublier!

      …wait…

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        “I want only to forget?” Forgive me if I have misinterpreted, ’tis a long while since high school French…

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Yup! It was a large-ish reply failure to the “que sera sera” business up above, but I was amused anyway, given the translation. Now I see the magnitude of the failure has grown as people reply…

          Anyway, I assumed I was replying to Pink Martini lyrics, and “Sympathique” is easily my favourite song on the same album as their “Que Sera Sera”. *RESEARCH* And now I see they aren’t the originators of the latter. -_-

    • Tssha says:

      I’m with you. Guess we’re gonna have to wait and see.

      That’s all it means, I suppose. Open mind, open eyes, no pre-judgements. No raised expectations, no pessimistic predictions, just…take what comes your way.

      And pick up a placard if something truly outrageous happens. But don’t expect it, that’s the key.

  4. GallonOfAlan says:

    I hope he bungs the Infiniminer guy a few quid …

  5. Curratum says:

    I am genuinely entertained by this! I never had any interest in Minecraft but the river of tears that will follow will no doubt be delectable!

  6. skyturnedred says:

    That’s a quite a bit of spending money for future projects. Imagine the possibilities!

    • Smashbox says:

      He said that he’s done doing real game dev.

      • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

        Maybe he’ll become an imaginary game dev!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”

      That’s the saddest bit.

      • JFS says:

        I think the saddest bit is whining about how you’re such a mistreated poor little artistic nerd soul, when in fact you are filthy rich and don’t care much about anyone or anything.

        Then again, maybe I just described rock stars. Games have finally become art! Now, if only Notch had been totally anti-corporate rock just a few seasons before selling out to the corp… It’d be the Nineties all over again.

        • Kollega says:

          Seconded. And the worst part is, Notch doesn’t even have any damn ambition that could use this kind of money. If I had a chance to sell something I own for two billion dollars, of course I would sell it, but only to facilitate my other, bigger projects.

          • Smashbox says:

            I’m amazed at your ability to take the moral high ground.

            He, of course HAS created a ‘big project’: the most popular PC game ever – worth $2.5 B in cash.

            So, to parse your comment: due to a larger amount of ambition, you or someone like you is more deserving of this ungodly amount of money because of what you WOULD do with it, rather than someone like Persson, who HAS created something worth the money.

          • Kollega says:

            And I’m amazed at your ability to be a jerk when all I did was suggest that Notch shouldn’t stop at Minecraft if he has such an outrageous amount of money on his hands. Consider for a moment that Minecraft itself was made on a shoestring budget by a few indie guys. It recouped its costs a thousand times over. I wouldn’t say it’s right for Notch to just rest on his laurels instead of putting his now-enormous amounts of money to making more art. But you probably won’t agree with that either.

          • BathroomCitizen says:

            If Notch’s satisfied with having sold Minecraft and got a wagon-load of money for it, who are we to judge if “he rests on his laurels and doesn’t create more art”? He earned it, and it’s nobody’s business if he just wants to be spend it on things other than developing games.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          He’s just a person (like, well, all of us). A guy who made a spin-off of infiniminer after he got fed up doing throwaway games for some company or other. And then that little thing got very, very big. Then come all the attention and influence with it.

          I can very much imagine he just doesn’t want to being the limelights. Why not let him? He doesn’t owe us more than what he’s given, I think. I feel that if he needs it, then well he’s bloody deserved it.

          • iucounu says:

            This. I thought that statement was melancholy and rather moving.

    • Kollega says:

      Fact A: Notch originally intended to make Minecraft open-source when it stops selling well.
      Fact B: Notch just sold Minecraft to a FUCKHUEG corporation, for a FUCKHUEG amount of money.
      Fact C: Notch said in an attached press-release that most he’ll do from now on would be short-form experiments.

      Conclusion: Unless he uses part of that money to finance Psychonauts 2, I fail to see why the hell he felt the need to sell Minecraft for two billion dollars considering he’s not going to use that money for anything. He could’ve just made it open-source and let the ordinary people carry the torch, but noooo, apparently he felt the need to sell it for a huge amount of money that he doesn’t know what to do with.

      • joa says:

        So your problem with him is that he wants money?

        • Kollega says:

          My problem is that if I get this correctly, he’s just going to sit on that money instead of doing something worthwhile with it.

          • joa says:

            Hasn’t he earned the right to do what he wants with his own money?

          • Smashbox says:

            It’s his money! He earned it!

          • Kollega says:

            I originally posted a comment about how it’s “not right” to sit on $2 billion instead of making more art with them, but it’s probably worthless to argue. I’ll just say that in my opinion, it’s not right, and leave it for you to call me “entitled” and “whiny”.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            Kollega, dude, you’re just jumping to conclusions at this point. Wait and see what he does with the money and then criticize his actions based on that.

          • Kollega says:

            Maybe you’re right, MadTinkerer. Maybe you’re right. I’m jumping to conclusions based off what Notch himself said… but yeah, maybe at some later point we’ll see him put all this money to decent use. Hopefully.

          • KDR_11k says:

            No matter what he does with it it’ll probably be better than what Microsoft would have done with it.

          • Premium User Badge

            Phasma Felis says:

            How do you know that? Maybe he’s going to give it to charity and save thousands of lives. Maybe he’s going to cash it all out in gold coins and swim in it Scrooge McDuck-style. We don’t know.

          • sneetch says:

            One thing I think we will see is a lot of large pledges for promising or quirky kickstarters. I believe he’s backed some for quite a lot.

        • cptgone says:

          “FUCKHUEG”s should be free for all!

          • Baines says:

            The police might be less opposed to free FUCKHUEGs compared to paid FUCKHUEGs.

            Oh, wait, there is a carefully misplaced ‘e’ in that.

      • jalf says:

        yeah, what was he thinking, making himself a lot of money. What an asshole…

        • Kollega says:

          Look, he already had enough money to not worry about ever having to work again. Why did he need more if he doesn’t know what to spend it on is… a little baffling, shall we say.

          • Shadow says:

            I think most people operate on a “get money first, worry about what to do with it second” basis. He can do millions of things with billions of dollars, and it can take years to even begin to figure out what to do with them. Why must he instantly decide what to do with his own money, however much, and post it on the internet immediately?

          • Kollega says:

            Your point is good. At least, it’s much better than “it’s his money, so shut up about it”. It’s a great point, in fact. Maybe he will have some grand expensive idea later on, and put those two billion bucks into making THAT come to life… whatever it might be. I guess that means we simply have to wait and hope, just as Major Monogram taught us.

      • montorsi says:

        2 billion of it will go to the government, so I imagine that it will improve the lives of a lot of people who are not Notch.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Fact Q: Notch said he did not want to work for Steam, he wanted to be Steam.
        Fact Z: When Notch’s software company became the size of Steam, reality struck and he bottled out.

        Yeah. It’s not that we dislike the guy (I like his comments and games etc), it’s just he seems so contradictory, it’s mind boggling.

  7. seamoss says:

    > the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle

    Wait till the pressure of owning a billion dollars kicks in…

    • amateurviking says:

      Hah! Well. Quite.

    • LTK says:

      xkcd serves as a helpful reminder of just how much money two and a half billion dollars is: link to xkcd.com

      (Whoops, forgot to cancel reply. Oh well, nevermind.)

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yep. If what he said was true, he’d of open sourced it, and sold other assets (like Open Source existing builds, sell the “name/brand”.

      It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and then what you do a few weeks after when you think everyone forgot what you said.

  8. schlusenbach says:

    2.500.000.000 $

    That are a lot of Kickstarters.

  9. Anthile says:

    For some reason my first thought was “I wonder how many bees you can buy with that kind of money?”.

  10. Assaf says:

    Amazing. Happy for him. Of course it won’t necessarily make him happy… But the universe smiled upon him. This kind of money is insane. He can pretty much do whatever he wants to do, and keep building a fortune (this kind of capital works for itself). What a story.

    • Gap Gen says:

      It’s difficult to say what I’d do if I were in notch’s position of monetary comfort but having produced probably my most popular thing already. Certainly while he was already rich I suspect this propelled him another order of magnitude or two up the wealth ladder, which hopefully at the very least will see some interesting projects financed.

      • ET3D says:

        I think what he’s going to do is just what he says: whatever he finds fun. Which is programming small projects. He doesn’t need to work another day in his life, which is quite liberating.

  11. chewbaccasdad says:

    “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”.

    Surely there’s one obvious reason: Because MS decide, further down the line, to kick their competition in their Minecrafted teeth?

    With that said, I don’t know how to greet this news so I’m going to go with furious ambivalence.

    • Crafter says:

      Microsoft omits Mac and Linux in its announcement, so that does not bode really well.
      I doubt that it will change anything for Minecraft though, but I suspect :
      -that work on Minecraft 2 will start soon
      -that it will focus on Microsoft machines.

      • montorsi says:

        And by machines you mean machine. And by machine you mean the Xbone.

        • Crafter says:

          Xbone and probably windows phone as well.
          I hope to be wrong but anyway even if I am right, Minecraft’s success has created a genre and even if Mojang had stayed an indie studio, I would not have bet on them making the next great sandbox game.
          There are many other studios working on this genre now.

  12. Koozer says:

    I eagerly await Minecraft 2, with a marketing budget through the roof, and released to a resounding ‘meh’ from people who already own Minecraft.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      “Minecraft 2” will likely be an Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8+ “exclusive”.

      • Bull0 says:

        Well, an Xbox exclusive, anyway

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Windows Phone, XBOne and Windows 8 METRO exclusive. Just to rub it in, it will be a Sims/Farmville reskin… (and not the good type, MC with Sims/Farmville skins, no, Sims/FV with MC skins!)

  13. thelastpointer says:

    So since the last news (like, five days ago?), they managed to up their value by five hundred million dollars? I don’t know if I should be happy for them or envious :)

  14. kwyjibo says:

    Congratulations to Notch.

    I’m not a Minecrafter and I’m not much of a Microsoft fan either, but the reasons for selling don’t come across as cynical or desperate. Selling to a platform holder makes the future murkier though, but there can’t be that many suitors at that kind of valuation, I doubt even Lego have that kind of cash to splash around.

  15. Voice of Majority says:

    They’ll be renaming it to project Spark.

  16. Gap Gen says:

    Just to put it in perspective, Instagram sold for $1Bn and Whatsapp for $19Bn. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the deal. Certainly for a game that’s slaved to a server and has regular updates, it’ll be possible for Minecraft to be ruined, but hopefully Microsoft’s main input aside from selling merch, etc, on the side will be to add more polish and stability to the game (hello, login server outages) while staying out of the creative process as much as possible. Hopefully they’ll tread carefully to avoid fragmenting the user base in the event they meddle too much.

    • Echo_Hotel says:

      Get ready for more login server outages in the near future, Mojang is currently running off of Amazon Cloud Services and for some reason I think Microsoft would rather run things off it’s own cloud platform, so expect some changes soon.

  17. Freud says:

    Good for them. They can do a lot of good things with that money.

    • Themadcow says:

      Or buy a hideout in a hollowed out Volcano. Decisions decisions.

    • Shooop says:

      But they won’t.

      If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately. – Notch

  18. Curry the Great says:

    How in the world is the minecraft company worth 2,5 billion dollars. There’s no talent, so it must all be for the Minecraft IP. Can they really make more than 2.5 billion dollars from it?

    Notch is litterally a billionare. Luckiest game developer in the world. I hope he spends a lot of it on kickstarters and things like that.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Often it’s for a captive userbase to market to. An article I read suggested that Microsoft might use it to push their Windows phones/tablets, which notch previously vetoed working with because there were so few being used at the time.

    • trjp says:

      It’s notable that in 2012, Mojang made more money from “non game sales” than anything else.

      e.g. books, figures, T Shirts – all that shit was worth more than game sales

      Part of that will be them getting commissions from non-PC sales rather than the whole credit for the sale but most of it is merch and shit.

      THAT is what MS have bought – in effect – they’ve bought the rights to the merch and the rights to make more games so they can make more merch.

      They can’t own or want the game itself anyway – it’s highly unoriginal, everyone knows it was based on something else and it’s the most widely copied game in history (written in a language Microsoft won’t want to touch with a bargepole)

      Nope – they bought Creepers and Redstone all that shit.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Minecraft is huge, it’s one of the most popular games in the world. There’s the game, the merchandise, the conventions, the film rights…

      There’s a lot of potential in just monetising the game further too, I don’t think Minecraft has in-game-purchases or subscription features, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t.

      Microsoft’s greatest win in the gaming market has been getting gamers to subscribe for Xbox Live, a service that had free equivalents on every other platform. It’s so successful that Sony adopted the practice.

      • JFS says:

        Film rights?!?!

        • DarkLiberator says:

          Yeah, back in February they announced Minecraft is getting a movie made by WB. Imagine a whole film franchise.

          Its about buying a generation of gamers.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          I’m guessing you’d not heard that they made a film version of Battleships?
          Yeah, the game with the two grids and the little pegs and stuff. A film. Of that.
          I shit ye not.

          • Baines says:

            The film rights to all sorts of things get bought.

            Along with Battleship, there were plans for films based on Candy Land, Risk, and the ViewMaster toy. (One of the Candy Land writers once said “We envision it as Lord of The Rings, but set in a world of candy.”)

            Michael Bay was supposedly working on a film based on the Ouji Board, while Ridley Scott was for years tied to plans for a Monopoly movie. We got a 3D LEGO movie, but did you know that four years ago there were plans for a 3D Erector Set film?

            So yeah, Minecraft film rights are hardly weird.

    • GameCat says:

      Hey, we’re talking about game that have its own goddamn LEGO models. I don’t recall any other non-LEGO game that have its own sets.

      • eggy toast says:

        Are you the one who keeps posting about Lego in every Minecraft comment section?

        It isn’t nearly as portentous as you seem to think.

        • Leb says:

          THEY HAVE THEIR OWN LEGOS. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THE GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION.

        • GameCat says:

          No, I did it just once, I swear!

          But really, I’m not the person you’re looking for.

    • almostDead says:

      Microsoft has bought a ‘brand’. This brand can be used to sell anything they want. Brands are the new Gods that western secular democracies worship.

  19. Mbaya says:

    Seems like a good deal for Notch and Mojang, well no, its a bloody incredible deal I feel. Lets hope Notch is okay with seeing his work in the hands of Microsoft going forwards as well – it could certainly tug at the ‘ole heartstrings.

    As for Microsoft…they must have big plans, surely? It’s a huge bet on the future of Minecraft…one I wouldn’t take that’s for sure. While I’d rather they invested that sort of money in new IP’s and whatnot, it’ll be interesting to see what they do, especially if they carry on supporting the other platform versions…could be the start of Microsoft going multiplatform.

    Still crazy though :)

  20. Bobka says:

    SO many mixed feelings.

    1) Good for Notch, he deserves to get away from this and do something fresh if that’s what he wants, and he’s got the money to do just about anything now.

    2) I’m obliged to hate everything Microsoft does on principle because of the way they push Xbone/mobile Windows over the desktop PC. I expect future versions of Minecraft to come through the Windows Store and be apps. I expect, despite Mojang’s post, that Sony/Apple/Android versions will fall to the wayside in the mid-term future.

    3) Minecraft’s development in the last year has been uninspiring (said as someone who bought in during Alpha). Mojang had so many resources and so much money, and yet they’ve managed to add very little content for a long time, especially when it comes to non-cosmetic gameplay features for Survival mode. I don’t doubt Microsoft will push for more… something. Updates, sequels, DLC, I have no ideal, but they’re going to want to do stuff with it. So maybe this is good?

    4) As people have been pointing out, Microsoft is going to be buying a generation of Minecraft fans along with the game itself. What will they do with all these young fans? Minecraft as a phenomenon was beautiful because, in an age where consumers are gravitating towards locked-down tablets, Minecraft on the PC encouraged millions of kids to not only game on the PC but also get excited about modding and game development, the nitty gritty stuff that gets people into actually CREATING software rather than just consuming it. Will Microsoft continue to nurture that? Do they even care? I somehow doubt it.

    5) Surely Microsoft knows that Minecraft is appealing because of its openness, cross-platform presence, free-form gameplay and community… right? They can’t possible sink $2.5 billion into a game without understanding that its appeal is characterised by things almost completely antithetical to the big-business corporate game consumption culture they’re fostering with Xbone… right?

    • Ryuuga says:

      Yeah the basic values of Mojang are entirely opposite to those of MS, there sure is the potential for a clash between the MS philosophy of “we use games to drive sales for our hardware/force people to update OS” and Mojangs openness, modding scene, etc.

      It was fun to see something big and popular that wasn’t owned by big money, something more idealistic and less driven by murky ambitions of driving OS updates or hardware sales or DRM-schemes or subscription services. Sure gonna miss that.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Some great points there with #3 and #4.

      Minecraft is what got my son into modding on the PC – for a lot of kids & teens, it’s been the “gateway drug” into programming. Although it’s not easy or user-friendly at all to mod in Minecraft, it’s taught him some fundamentals of Java.

      And most importantly, he created an awesome lava fireball zombie.

      I hope Microsoft doesn’t lock it down – my son & his friends haven’t played unmodded Minecraft in 2 years.

  21. Synesthesia says:

    Holy crap, congratulations to notch. None of his will have to ever worry again. Goddammit, i hate work.

  22. Ryuuga says:

    A sad day for a Minecraft fan like me, indeed – a proud independent gone, and of their own volition, too. Although I did expect them to stay with Minecraft, of course this decision is up to the founders – anything else would be very silly indeed. Their life, their game, and I wish them all the best.

    Oh well, I guess I got many good hours out of Minecraft already. Nothing good lasts forever, I suppose. Maybe it will take a while before MS does anything heavy-handed. One can hope.

  23. Hunchback says:

    Well doh!

  24. Cross says:

    I can’t really formulate an opinion on Minecraft and its future itself, this could be good, or very bad indeed. What i am happy to see is Notch’s intent: To be free of the baggae that came with Minecraft’s success, and to go be an extremely well-funded creative. Looking forward to seeing his next move.

  25. natendi says:

    I like how a game based on virtual mining (and other features) now rivals in value with actual mining companies.

  26. int says:

    Liten mjuk tar en mojäng.

  27. bad guy says:

    He could have made it freeware.

    • JFS says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    • eggy toast says:

      If only those horrible capitalist big businessmen at hated Em-Dollarsign hadn’t forced him to accept a laughable amount of money, maybe he could have followed through on what he says he believes, poor bugger.

    • whollyrandom says:

      Explain to me under what circumstances, given the choice between being given two and a half billion dollars without having to kill anyone and being given nothing, you would take option two.

      I’m going to need sworn statements from your priest/rabbi/secular humanist elder in order to back up your position.

      • Steve Catens says:

        This is silly. I’m sure if you take more than a few seconds to think about it, you could think of plenty of hypothetical examples. What if the 2.5 billion caused someone you cared about to be negatively affected? What if it caused widespread unemployment? What if the money was paid to you in exchange for something that damaged the planet and negatively affected the human species? What if accepting the two billion required you to listen to the Miley Cyrus cover of “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” every waking moment of every day, for the rest of your life?

        I know you’re just being glib, and I have no feelings about the Mojang sale, but come on. Of course there are always pros and cons, and some people don’t value absurd amounts of money as much as others.

  28. 0positivo says:

    What will this mean for modding? That’s really what I’m most worried about. It’s basically been 2 years since I even bothered touching the game without a good compilation of mods… there really is nothing like that experience around

  29. Wut The Melon says:

    How on earth is Mojang/Minecraft ever going to be worth $2.5 billion in the future? There seems to be little potential for a huge franchise/series (who’s going to buy Minecraft 2? Minecraft 3?), and the chances of Mojang coming up with another surprise hit were already negligible before they lost Notch and gained a corporate overlord.

    Whatsapp, Oculus Rift etcetera – those are investments in the future. Minecraft feels like an investment in the past.

    Course, I could be wrong, and in 10 years COD may have died and been replaced by Minecraft as the biggest yearly-sequelled game release, but this mainly seems a good move for Notch. Hopefully the wads of cash don’t get in the way of his sanity, either.

    • Niko says:

      Do you not see the impact on gaming Minecraft already made?

      • Baines says:

        Atari also made a massive impact on gaming, but those days are well in the past.

        Microsoft bought a name and an existing game that has already been sold to customers, a game that wouldn’t be easy to franchise. Maybe product rights and name value will make Microsoft back its investment, and maybe it won’t.

        • Gargenville says:

          The least customer-hostile thing I could see them doing is to set up MMO-sized persistent servers and charge a couple bucks a month but the problem with that is you’d lose a lot of kid customers because parents would gladly buy little Timmy Destiny for $70 yet baulk at a $5/mo. subscription.

          And of course with it being MS their way of selling you on this would probably be to rip all current online functionality out of the game and lock down all modding so they can sell microtransaction crap.

  30. buzzmong says:

    Well, his company, his decision.
    I do find it odd that they’re stating that “The only option was to sell Mojang” though. It was/is a privately held company, it could have just been closed if he really wanted to get away from it.

    Personally, I think he’s being a bit short sighted. He’s always going to be Notch: creator of Minecraft. He’ll never escape that legacy, and if MS turn the game against the general community, he’ll still get loads of hate for selling it to them.
    It does look like he’s trying to run away from something he hasn’t realised he’ll never escape from.

  31. InfamousPotato says:

    To be honest, I don’t have a particularly strong opinion about Microsoft owning Minecraft, other than a vague feeling that this might be a bad thing for quite a few people, though I think a few good things are possible too. As for Notch, I’m glad he’s done with Minecraft. It sounds like he has been miserable, so I think getting away from Minecraft might do him some good. I hope life works out for him with whatever he does next.

  32. apa says:

    Maybe MS will build Win9 in Minecraft!

  33. JFS says:

    This is ridiculous. What for is microsoft paying a fantastillion of dollars again?

  34. blastaz says:

    Dr Dre made a big thing about becoming hip hop’s first billionaire when he sold beats after thirty years of work.

    Notch makes twice that in under half a decade…

    Now to me that says something about the cultural relevance of video games and music…

    • Fiatil says:

      I think you’ve gone the wrong direction with that one. It says a lot more about owning your own work versus working for a music label

  35. Joote says:

    I suppose this means we will have to repurchase Minecraft for £250 along with a 16 figure encrypted key for activation, a law suit if you lend it out to your friends, and metro icons splashed all over the building blocks.
    I bet it comes with a nice plastic coated cardboard box though.

  36. wyrm4701 says:

    So, does anyone remember that scant few months ago when GFWL was supposed to shut down and vanish? Then, despite it’s utter lack of value as a service, it turned out it was being kept alive for some inexplicable reason? I bet you wouldn’t have to look far to find anonymous commenters scoffing at the very notion of MS being able to push GFWL without something like Minecraft to make it mandatory.

    I’m really happy for the financial success of Notch and Mojang, I’m glad to have contributed to that, and I wish them all the best in life. It’s bloody awful that they sold Minecraft to Microsoft, though.

    • Baines says:

      From what I recall, Microsoft either implied and at the least never denied that they were looking into a successor for GFWL.

      GFWL itself was probably being kept alive due to the number of publishers who weren’t interesting in patching GFWL out of their software.

  37. Reefpirate says:

    “It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity”.

    Yeah OK, Notch. If you say so…

    Seriously this is a great haul for Notch and I think he deserves whatever he can get for his efforts. But what is the point in pretending ‘it’s not about the money’?

    If it wasn’t about the money you probably could have given up the negotiations a lot sooner and sold it all for $20,000. Or $15 or whatever. If you’re going to hang in there and negotiate up to $2.5 billion you no longer get to say ‘it isn’t about the money’ with a straight face.

    • Grygus says:

      To be fair, this deal isn’t just about Notch, right? I mean, if he sells Mojang there are also all the people whose livelihoods depend on that job. Selling it all for $15 or giving it away for free might actually appeal to Notch but be untenable because he feels a responsibility to those people. This way he takes care of all of them so he can leave guilt-free. And also he leaves in a car that runs by burning money.

  38. Joote says:

    I wish he had held on to his principles. Microsoft think they can buy their way out or into everything. It was a great day when Google told them where to sling their hook.

  39. Premium User Badge

    DantronLesotho says:

    Can we get a petition for Notch to start a real life Jurassic Park? I really want this.

  40. Joote says:

    He could have been known as the man who said ‘NO’ to Microsoft, but now he will be known as the one-game has-been. It’s a crying shame.

  41. Film11 says:

    Oh dear, I suppose we can say goodbye to free updates, clever content and non-monetised… everything now then.

    I wonder if there’s some way to sandbox my client and prevent it from ever updating again.

  42. horsemedic says:

    Your first word, “speculation,” links indirectly to a WSJ report based on the account of an insider to the deal. That’s not speculation; that’s reporting.

    I know “games journalism” still means mostly reviews, opinions and occasionally actually speculation, with original reporting a very distant fourth. But damn, guys, you should at least be able to identify a news report when you see one.

  43. Jimbo says:

    Microsoft make plenty of bad decisions. Within a couple of years they’ll be able to add this one to the list.

    This is a great deal for Notch & co though, good on them.

  44. ChrisMidget says:

    $2500 million Dollars, Notch must be the best at negotiating since Hitler and the Munich agreement.
    Jokes aside part of me is worried by this because Minecraft is the game that truly got me into PC gaming (I am still relatively new/young) but I do think Microsoft will try to muck everything up.

  45. bp_968 says:

    All I have to say on this is “2.5 BILLION??” Really? I can’t decide if “money” (global inflation) has just lost that much value over the past 20 years (it has lost a fair amount) or if we have just become so efficent in daily needs that simple games now have values greater then entire nations?!

    Regardless, who in their right mind wouldn’t sell for 2.5 BILLION dollars? I heard someone mention open source but that’s just crazy. Would he think it sane to ask someone to give away their entire retirement portfolio to the open source community? Because that’s not even compatible to the same scale.

    There are currently 150 comments to this post as I write this. If he gave every single poster 1 million dollars each it would be roughly 6% of his total earnings. If he makes very safe investments he will likely earn more then that in interest each year. In fact, he could give each one of us 1 million each for the rest of our lives and likely never touch the principle amount at all.

    I know many people won’t be able to see past the envy in their hearts (heck, I’m envious!) but this is honestly an amazing example of capitalism working! This guy made this thing in his basement and basically self published. He more or less started the “crowd funding” idea for games. He just rocketed out into the %1 with a single game idea.

    Apparently I need to be more creative.

    • islisis says:

      with that entitlement, i’m thankful you are not

      • bp_968 says:

        I think you mean “sense of entitlement” not “just” entitlement. Regardless, I wrote 4 paragraphs, what part ignited your concern over my “entitlement”?

        I can only assume you disagree about keeping a giant windfall of money? Money that he earned from people buying what amounts to a luxury item? If we are going to be angry about every rich person on the planet does that mean we should be happy about poverty?

        Regardless what he does with the money, SOME good will come of it simply changing hands. I’m not sure how it works in Sweden but in the USA a sale like this would likely get smacked with 40-50% in taxes (if he gets paid in “cash” as opposed to options or something else). If we say 50% then that’s 1.2 billion and off the top of my head I know the NIH (national institute of health and research) gets roughly 1% of the US budget so he instantly donated 12 million to medical research. And probably bought a few tanks and maybe a handful of cruise missiles. But that last part is beside the point. ;)

  46. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    All I have to say is, the “This is Phil Fish” video Notch mentioned is pretty cool and y’all should watch it. It literally changed my life (though it hasn’t caused me to make 2 billion dollars).

    • Shadowcat says:

      Reading your comment changed my life. (As did writing this one.)

  47. Michael Isenberg says:

    For every giant penis tower that someone has constructed, there have been many moments of creative and communal brilliance.

    These things are mutually exclusive?

  48. Gargenville says:

    This is an absolutely ridiculous price to pay for a company with one game. All of Capcom is currently worth about $1.1 billion and they’re open to takeover bids. They could have had EVERY SINGLE Capcom game as an Xbone exclusive but no let’s get one single over the hill indie game and its one-hit-wonder studio without the founding members.

    Seriously, Resident Evil, Megaman, Street Fighter, Monster Hunter and actual competent development studios to build them vs the Minecraft name and a handful of Mojang people who take 18 months to implement bees. I realize the running costs would be astronomical but so are the costs of quietly watching the Xbone tank. What the fuck MS.