What was rumor last week is news this week as Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, confirmed they are acquiring Mojang, creator of the popular game Minecraft. Reports indicate Microsoft will pay $2.5 billion for the small Swedish company, and the sale will be complete by the end of the year.
Check out what Phil Spencer has to say about the acquisition in this video released by Xbox.
Markus “Notch” Persson has often been an outspoken critic of larger companies and has called out both Microsoft and Facebook on occassion. This morning, Persson posted a statement on his personal website and stated that he will not be making the transition with Mojang to Microsoft and has announced he will be leaving Mojang. You can read his full statement below:
I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.
A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.
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.
As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.
Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.
I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.
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.
It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.
Minecraft is one of those games that has a very wide range of players – young and old, male and female, casual and hardcore – and this could be one of the key reasons Microsoft was interested in acquiring the company. The game is available on many platforms, but has yet to hit Microsoft’s Windows mobile devices, which could be another reason. Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft plans to continue making Minecraft available across iOS, Android, Playstation, Xbox, and PC and one can only assume it will be making it’s ways to Windows phone devices as well.
What do you think about Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang? Or is Notch’s departure from Mojang the bigger story here? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.