Today, Microsoft has announced their acquisition of Mojang. Mojang is the developer of the widely popular video game Minecraft. Mojang's founder Markus Persson (aka Notch) had been an outspoken opponent to Microsoft. Something must have changed Persson's mind because now an agreement has been reached.
Notch was the original creator of Minecraft and the majority stock holder in Mojang. However, today, Notch plays a small role in the day-to-day development of Minecraft. Notch's role in Mojang is straightforward -- he is the Chairman of the Board -- Carl Manneh is the CEO and Jens Bergensten (aka Jeb) is the lead designer of Minecraft. While it would seem Notch does not play a large role in Minecraft anymore, he remains the figurehead of the game and the company. Notch has a lot of dedicated fans in the indie game world for speaking out against huge game studios throwing money at games and marketing to attract fans.
The question still remains. Why would Microsoft pay such a high price for a game studio which already supports its platforms? The answer is most likely the fans of Minecraft. Phil Spencer of Xbox mentioned the universal appeal of Minecraft in a video about the Mojang acquisition today. Minecraft has very dedicated fans across a very wide range of demographics. From young fans who treat Minecraft as a social gaming experience to engineers who use the game to recreate working calculators or displays. Minecraft is a unique game which blurs the line between entertainment and education. Microsoft is interested in capturing the brand to attract the next generation of computer programmers toward Microsoft technologies.
Fans of Minecraft shouldn't be worried about cross-platform support. Microsoft has the best record across all big technology companies for making their products available on any platform. From Skype to Office to Xbox Music, Microsoft has a great track record of delivering their customers with the products they want. It is unlikely Microsoft will use Minecraft as a platform to make money directly, but more likely Microsoft will use Minecraft to win favor with young fans and a generation of future customers.
Hopefully Microsoft will support Mojang when it comes to development resources and hosting services. Minecraft Realms is a service which hosts servers for players to play together without the complexities of hosting servers. Microsoft could use Azure to host Minecraft Realms. Microsoft could also assist Mojang with hiring more developers and testers to develop Minecraft faster. Hopefully Microsoft has a positive influence in the development of Minecraft.
What do you think of Microsoft buying Mojang? What do you want to see Microsoft do with Minecraft? What do you not want to see Microsoft do? Let us know in the comments below!