In what many see as an attempt to expand its presence in the mobile and console markets, Microsoft announced on Sunday that it would be purchasing Swedish developer Mojang, which is known as the maker of the popular Minecraft multi-platform video game.
The purchase is valued at $2.5 billion, which is about half a billion more than what was originally expected, and with that Microsoft would acquire Mojang’s entire studio that had been used as ground zero for all Minecraft software since the game’s initial release in 2009. Minecraft creator Markus Persson, however, also announced yesterday that he will be leaving Mojang together with the company’s other founders once the buyout is completed and Mojang becomes part of Microsoft Studios.
Minecraft is an open-world sandbox-type adventure that has gamers fighting off numerous enemies, but it also allows them to create their own worlds in what many describe a virtual version of a Lego play set, only more open. But the game has proven to be more than just a fun diversion for kids and adults alike; it has also been used by educators to stimulate children’s creativity, and Mojang had even tied up with the United Nations to create real world-based in-game environments. Originally released for Windows, Minecraft is now available for iOS, Android, PlayStation (PS4 and PS3) and Xbox (Xbox One and Xbox 360).
Speaking of multiple platforms, a lot of gamers expressed worries that the Microsoft deal would turn Minecraft into an exclusive for Xbox and Windows. The company, however, said that the game will still be offered across different platforms outside of the two just mentioned. “We plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC,” assured Xbox head Phil Spencer in a statement.