Monday, September 15, 2014

Microsoft Buys Mojang

"In the last two years, gamers have played more than 2 billion hours of Minecraft on Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Monday, Microsoft MSFT -0.97%  made the relationship official, announcing it will buy Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion. While that is just $1.5o per hour of play, the deal is 25% greater than the $2 billion rumored last week and the largest acquisition Microsoft has undertaken since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in February.
“Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year,” said Nadella. “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.”
Microsoft shares gained 0.2% when rumors of a deal surfaced last Wednesday and were down about 0.8% to $46.35 in morning trading Monday. The deal, while practically small compared to $7.2 billion Microsoft spent on Nokia’s device business, may have confused some investors who expected Nadella to focus on Microsoft’s enterprise businesses rather than its consumer facing ones.
When Nadella took over as CEO, for example, Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group and a former software engineer, pointed out that most of Microsoft’s money comes from enterprise sales, with consumers as a bonus. Back then Forrest told me that Nadella’s background going after big markets impressed her and may signal a more self-aware enterprise focus from Microsoft.
The Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, maker of popular video games Halo, Forza and Fable, among others. Microsoft expects the deal to close in late 2014 and to break even on the acquisition in fiscal 2015.
Last week, FORBES contributor Erik Kain pointed out,
Traditionally Mojang has maintained a decidedly indie spirit, not collecting data on its users and encouraging employees to interact with fans online. Microsoft has a much more controlled PR presence and operates like most other giant tech firms in terms of data collection and so forth. It would certainly be a test of culture clash to mix the two.”
In an apparent effort to stave off “clash” concerns from the enormous Minecraft community (it has been downloaded more than 100 million times on PCs alone since 2009) Mojang CEO Carl Manneh said in the Microsoft statement on the deal, “The ‘Minecraft’ players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations. The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of ‘Minecraft.’ As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.”
In a note to fans on its own website Mojang wrote, “Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft. It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3″
As FORBES’ Max Jedeur-Palmgren and Ryan Mac reported last week the deal will make founder Markus “Notch” Persson the world’s newest billionaire, as well as one of its youngest. Check out their story for more. The Mojang note confirmed Notch and his two co founders will not be staying on at Microsoft. “We don’t know what they’re planning,” read the note. “It won’t be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool.”"
 "Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft.
It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3
Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that.
We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.
Why did you sell Minecraft?
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.
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. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.
There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.
Minecraft means many different things to millions of people across the world, and to each and every Mojangsta. We feel that this is the best way for everyone – you guys included – to benefit.
What about the other editions of Minecraft? Will they stop being developed?
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. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.
We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together.
Is the game going to change? Will we still be able to make videos, mods, awesome builds, and all the cool stuff we’ve created over the past few years?
Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development. We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.
What about the Mojang staff? What’s happening to you guys?
Though it’s too early to confirm which of us will continue working on Minecraft or other projects, we predict that the vast majority (if not all) Mojangstas will continue to work at Mojang for the time being.
The founders: Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving. We don’t know what they’re planning. It won’t be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool.
What’s happening to the other Mojang projects, like Scrolls?
We don’t know yet. We’ll share any news as soon as we do.
Will you still be able to tweet about features and interact with the community on a personal level, just like you’ve done over the years?
Yes! That’s not going to change.
How much money was the company bought for?
Microsoft acquired Mojang for a smooth 2.5 BILLION dollars.
Thanks for reading everybody."