The world’s most popular open-world sandbox title and its developer, Mojang, are joining Microsoft’s family of studios, including 343 Industries, Turn 10 Studios, and Lionhead Studios.
Not only has Minecraft become the most popular franchise in its genre, it’s also become one of the most popular video games of all time with over 100 million downloads on PC since 2009 while also enjoying noteworthy success on iOS, Android, Xbox, and PlayStation devices.
In lengthy letter on Xbox Wire, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer wrote that the company hopes to allow Minecraft to continue its success while also continuing to make Minecraft available across all of the platforms it currently finds its home on.
“The Minecraft community is passionate and diverse, ranging across all ages and demographics,” he wrote. “We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great, and we’ll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward.”
Spencer hopes that Microsoft’s investment in cloud, Xbox Live, and mobile technology will “enable players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect with the Minecraft community.” Minecon will continue next year, with more news to come in the coming months.
Mojang’s Owen Hill also took a few moments to explain the merger over on the studio’s official website, offering some reasoning behind the $2.5 billion USD deal.
“Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance,” Hill wrote. “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.”
Though it’s unclear what sort of shifts might take place within the studio itself, Owen has confirmed that founders Notch, Carl, and Jacob are leaving and moving on with other projects.
You’ll find more specifics over on Mojang’s official site.