Following rumors of a potential acquisition, Microsoft has today confirmed that it will be purchasing Mojang, the developer of the insanely popular Minecraft game, for $2.5 billion.
As noted, the move isn’t unexpected, but it is a notable one for a company struggling to break into the mobile market in a big way, and one that’s also embroiled in a ‘console war’ with Sony’s PlayStation 4.
To put the popularity of the game into perspective, Minecraft has been purchased more than 16.5 million times by Mac and PC users alone. It’s also available on a range of consoles and other platforms, and in total, has sold more than 54 million copies. Clearly, with this purchase, Microsoft is hoping to be able to tap into that massive pool of loyal players.
As part of the deal, the Mojang team will be brought under Microsoft Studios, where other exclusive franchises such as Forza Motorsport, Halo and Fable are managed.
And if you feared the cross-platform future of Minecraft under Microsoft’s control, there is apparently no need to worry.
“Microsoft plans to continue to make “Minecraft” available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation,” the company said.
While Mojang said it was a bit too early to specify which of the employees would continue to work on Minecraft and other projects, it did confirm that the founders are leaving the company.
“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,” the company said.The deal is expected to formally close later this year.