Microsoft is nearing a deal to buy Mojang AB, makers of the Minecraft video game franchise,
according to a new report. According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal would value Mojang
at more than $2 billion and could be signed as soon as this week.
Microsoft and Mojang declined to comment to the Journal. As the Journal notes, the move would
be surprising given that Mojang founder Markkus "Notch" Persson, is a darling of the indie gaming
scene who has avoided taking venture capital. He has also criticized Microsoft's Windows 8 for potentially
being "very, very bad for indie games."
“An unlikely target for acquisition”
Minecraft, which first came out in 2009, has sold more than 50 million copies. Stockholm-based Mojang
had $100 million in profits last year, according to the Journal. It's a reflection of the fact that Minecraft,
an open-world game where players can build almost anything they can imagine while avoiding spiders
and other dangers, has become a multi-platform global phenomenon. The Journal argues that owning
Minecraft could "invigorate" Microsoft's Xbox business, though the game has long been available on that platform.
Mojang has been seen as an unlikely target for acquisition because its small team of about 40 people
makes a highly profitable game in Minecraft and whose leader has expressed a desire to invest those
profits in unusual new games. Persson has also been critical of large corporations in general; he
canceled a planned version of Minecraft for Oculus Rift after the virtual reality company sold to Facebook.