Microsoft has been splashing the cash, with the Redmond-based company acquiring Minecraft developer Mojang in a $2.5 billion (£1.5bn) takeover.
Minecraft has become a global gaming phenomenon since launching back in 2009, shifting more than 100 million copies on PC alone. The game, which is available on all manner of console and mobile platforms, allows gamers to explore expansive maps and build worlds from blocks.
Although Majang has confirmed Microsoft’s takeover will coincide with the studio’s three co-founders, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, Jakob Porser and Carl Manneh, stepping down, the developer has insisted Microsoft will continue to support Minecraft gamers moving forward.
“Yes, the deal is real,” an official Mojang’s statement announced. “Mojang is being bought by Microsoft.”
They added: “[Notch has] 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.
Microsoft’s Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, added: “Today is an incredibly exciting day for our team as Mojang and the Minecraft franchise join Microsoft.
“Minecraft is one of the most popular video games of all time, with more than 100 million downloads, on PC alone, from players since its launch in 2009. Minecraft inspires millions to create together, connects people across the globe, and is a community that is among the most active and passionate in the world.
“We’re excited to welcome Mojang to the Microsoft family and we are thrilled to support the success and longevity of Minecraft for years to come.”
With Mojang having brought in over $100 million in profit last year, Microsoft has predicted that it could recoup its full $2.5 billion investment as early as July 2015.
Speaking on the acquisition, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, said: “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”
Although Microsoft makes the Xbox One console, the company has revealed it has no plans to stop Minecraft support for Sony’s rival PlayStation consoles.
“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,” the company stated.
“Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.”
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