Microsoft Reportedly Buying Minecraft Maker for $2 Billion
It’s not a done deal, but the rumor mill has reached a fever pitch about a Microsoft and Minecraft merger. The software giant is expected to acquire Mojang, the maker of the popular video game, for over $2 billion.
The New York Times cited “people briefed on the discussions” as saying Microsoft is in advanced talks with creator Markus Persson, the brains behind the wildly popular game.
In case you aren’t familiar with Minecraft, it’s a game about breaking and placing blocks and it’s not just kids who love it. Here’s how its maker describes it:
“At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things. It can also be about adventuring with friends or watching the sun rise over a blocky ocean. It’s pretty. Brave players battle terrible things in The Nether, which is more scary than pretty. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea.”
Why Buy Minecraft?
Minecraft is available for the PC and Mac, the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3. There’s also a pocket edition for iOS and Android. A Windows Phone version is notably missing but would presumably be a top priority if Redmond really does acquire the game.
There are plenty of good reasons for Microsoft to buy Minecraft. The company has been successful in the gaming world, but the competition is growing -- and from some new angles. Virtual reality is one of them. Facebook grabbed Oculus VR in March for $2 billion.
Oculus developed as a heavy hitter in immersive virtual reality technology. The company has established plenty of interest among developers, having posted more than 75,000 development kit orders for the Oculus Rift, its virtual reality headset, before the Facebook buy. The big picture for Facebook is that virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.
Worth $2 Billion?
Beyond Facebook, Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank last October partnered with its subsidiary Gung-ho Online Entertainment to buy 51 percent of a Finnish mobile game maker called Supercell Oy for $1.53 billion.
Supercell Oy continues to operate independently while leveraging SoftBank's strategic resources. The mobile gaming company is best known for popular apps like Clash of Clans and Hay Day, which have reached top grossing status in Apple’s App Store in 137 and 96 countries respectively.
Is it worth $2 billion to Microsoft? That remains to be seen, but some industry watchers are bullish on the idea. “It’s one of the greatest success stories in gaming over the last 10 years,” Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in New York, referring to Mojang, told Bloomberg. “They’ve sold a lot of copies of Minecraft over the Xbox.”