Minecraft was getting too big. That’s the underlying reason the game’s creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, decided it was time to sell Mojang, the parent company of the popular open-world game, to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. The deal was announced publicly by the companies this morning.
“Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we’re massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch’s intention for it to get this big,” the Stockholm-based company explains in a post this morning.
The company adds, “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 is also seeking to reassure Minecraft users about Microsoft’s intentions, attempting to head off a potential backlash from the large community of indie gamers. “Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved,” the post reads. “If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that.”
Persson and Mojang’s other founders, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porsé, are leaving the company in conjunction with the acquisition.
Read the full post here.
Minecraft’s growth has translated into significant revenue and profit, with 2013 sales of $317 million and profits of $125 million, when converted from Swedish kroner using the average exchange rate. Microsoft says it expects the acquisition to break even during its current fiscal year, which began on July 1.
Here’s a video in which Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer talks about the acquisition, which had its roots in Minecraft’s expansion to the Xbox platform.