Minecraft developer Mojang confirmed today that they're being purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Both Mojang and Microsoft sought to reassure fans that this won't dramatically change the game, though.
"Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development," said Mojang's Owen Hill on the company's website. "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."
One worry about the Microsoft purchase was that it would have negative repercussions for Minecraft on platforms other than Xbox One, Xbox 360, or Windows. Hill says that "there's no reason" for them to stop developing, selling, or supporting the game on PlayStation, Mac or mobile devices though. Microsoft's Phil Spencer reiterated that on Xbox Wire in their own announcement of the acquisition.
If Microsoft's not going to treat Minecraft as an Xbox or PC exclusive, the question remains: Why buy Mojang? One report speculated that Microsoft wanted the game for Windows Phones to help their sales. Spencer simply said that they feel Minecraft has "incredible potential."
"Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise."
Mojang, for their part, feels that being owned by Microsoft will help them grow.
"There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves," Hill said. "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."
Mojang plans to maintain their "personal" relationship with their player community, though. They're going to continue to give regular updates on Minecraft's upcoming changes. The company's Minecraft-themed convention, MineCon, will return in 2015.
"We’re excited to confirm that MINECON will continue next year," Spencer said. "We’ll look to create even more ways for the vibrant community of YouTuber’s, innovators, bloggers and players to connect with each other – both in person and online. We will have much more to share in the coming months."
It's unclear what Microsoft's purchase of Mojang will mean for the company's other games. Their collectible card strategy game Scrolls is currently in beta. Hill says that they don't know what will happen to Scrolls or other non-Minecraft projects but they'll announce whatever details they find out.
Mojang believes that the "vast majority" of Mojang's employees will stay at the company. However, Hill did confirm that Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson will be leaving following the acquisition, as rumored. Fellow Mojang co-founders Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser also plan to leave.