Mojang may not be a household name, but the game developer’s title Minecraft is. The game that allows users to build just about anything they can imagine has attracted more than 100 million players and is available on just about every platform imaginable, from Windows PC to PlayStation 3 to iOS devices.
It’s now one of the most popular games to play on the Xbox 360, and Microsoft took note of the game’s success. The company announced today it will acquire Mojang and the Minecraft franchise for $2.5 billion.
The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, and Microsoft promises to keep the spirit of the game’s player-driven focus a priority. Head of Microsoft’s Xbox division Phil Spencer said “We are going to maintain Minecraft and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future.”
In light of the deal, Mojang’s three founders, Markus Persson, Jakob Porsér, and Carl Manneh will be leaving Mojang to pursue other interests. Mojang was created in 2009 by Persson, who served as the game’s lead designer until its official launch in 2011. At that time, Jens Bergensten assumed the role while Persson remained to work on other projects for the company.
Persson, arguably the game’s most public face, wrote about his decision to leave, saying “I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me.” Persson continued on to say that once the deal was complete he would go back to working on smaller projects.
Official comments from Mojang were also posted to the company’s site.
Both Mojang and Microsoft have promised that the original Minecraft will continue to be available on all non-Microsoft platforms on which it already exists. No other announcements or future plans for Minecraft were revealed at the time of the announcement.