The games and financial worlds are all in a tizzy this week due to strong rumours that industry behemoth Microsoft are in acquisition discussions with Mojang, creators of the massively popular Minecraft. According to individuals reported to be 'close to the deal' it is worth upwards of $2bn, and would be paid out of Microsoft's substantial off-shore cash reserves.
Minecraft has sold more than 50m copies since the Alpha version become available in 2009. Since then the game has evolved to be a darling of both Youtube and Streaming communities, with dozens of channels based around sandboxed gameplay, in-game construction projects, and taking advantage of mods which formalise story and role-playing. Last year Mojang alone made $100m from sales of the game and associated merchandise.
The core game was recently released on both next-generation platforms and it's understood that Microsoft would not see to restrict future Minecraft releases to specific platforms. Mojang founder Markus 'Notch' Persson himself will apparently depart following the acquisition.
The question is of course just what's in it for Microsoft, apart from the making use of cash reserves before shareholders become disillusioned. Apparently they believe that they can better leverage the Minecraft brand for merchandising and other non-core business, but them not taking a long hard look at platform exclusivity for a possible Minecraft 2 seems unlikely.
Representatives of both Microsoft and Mojang refuse to comment on the rumours.