The Windows OS maker just made their $2.5 billion dollar buy out of one of the gaming industries biggest franchises legit.
It is official; after days of speculation from highly creditable sources, Microsoft officially announced on Monday that the software giant had agreed on principle to acquire the Minecraft license for the incredible sum of $2.5 billion.
The purchase of the sandbox construction game, which has been an unstoppable force in the industry in mass appeal, profit, and influence, comes with the keys to the independent Swedish studio behind it, Mojang, as well as the merchandising rights to all things Minecraft. Namely, apparel, LEGO sets, and what not, which in total helped Mojang post a revenue of $326 million in 2013, with $128 million banked as pure profit.
Not apart of the deal though, is the creator of Minecraft, one Markus “Notch” Persson, who along with his co-founding partners – Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser – will be leaving the company they created in 2009 after receiving quite the buy out. Reportedly, it was Persson who approached Microsoft to buy the Minecraft license, seeking to step away from the immense status he’d gained by creating the game.
As for Minecraft going forward, and how it relates to the number of platforms it currently appears on (including rival Sony’s PlayStation 4, PS3, & PS Vita), Microsoft have said that they are fully committed to support every version of the game. This means continued support on PC – where a passionate fan base pushed the game towards its success and still thrives – Mac, iOS, Android, and even consoles such as the PlayStation.
Ultimately, the grander play for Microsoft’s acquisition of the Minecraft IP is to gain a major entertainment platform rather than an exclusive to help sell Xbox Ones. That much is stated not from on-the-ball industry analysts, but from top executives within the company, like head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Phil Spencer.
“We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great,” Spencer wrote in a statement about the purchase, “and we’ll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward. Our investments 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.”
Time will tell if such intentions come true, but in the meantime, the deal still needs to be finalized through legal approval, which according to Microsoft won’t happen until “late 2014.”
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