The partnership was announced by Xbox chief Phil Spencer, who stated that although the acquisition makes Mojang a first-party studio — alongside the likes of 343 Industries (Halo) and Turn 10 (Forza) — Microsoft still plans to support the lucrative title across other platforms going forward — namely iOS, Android and PlayStation.
“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.”
It’s understood that Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson will part ways with Mojang once the deal is finalized, with other members of the creative team also following him out the door. However, lead developer Jens Bergensten took to Twitter to confirm he will remain at the studio to oversee the IP under Microsoft’s ownership.
Undoubtedly, this is a huge and overly surprising acquisition for Microsoft to make. Not just because of Minecraft’s groundbreaking success across a plethora of platforms, but because of Persson’s comments against the publisher, who once stated that developing apps for the Windows market was redundant due to its “tiny” instal base.
That said, Notch has also released a statement in the wake of the agreement, which notes that the reasoning for the sale didn’t come down to the money; rather, it was for the sake of his own sanity.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity. 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.”
And that’s that, really. Fans of the franchise will no doubt be happy to hear that Spencer and Microsoft plan to support Minecraft on different platforms going forward. Nevertheless, having the potential to release a direct sequel as a Microsoft exclusive is surely something that the publisher plans to do in the very, very near future.