Microsoft’s buyout of Mojang and its Minecraft license has officially been confirmed, and Microsoft has now announced that it intends to break even on the $2.5 billion deal as early as April 2015.
Over the previous fiscal year 2014 Mojang reported total profits of £155.1 million, - including Marcus ‘Notch’ Persson’s £77.8 million share - meaning Microsoft would need to boost yearly profits at Mojang by around 1000% over the coming 9 months to hit this hefty target, so one or two surprises could be in store.
With Minecraft now in the unpredictable hands of Microsoft, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has vowed to continue to make Minecraft available on non-Microsoft platforms, including Android and PlayStation 4. Microsoft’s investment has befuddled many over the course of the last week, but now the deal is done and dusted “Microsoft expects the acquisition to be break-even in FY15,” according to a statement published earlier today.
Speaking after the announcement, new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year.
“Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”
How Microsoft intends to make money on such a massive scale in the coming is still a mystery, although a statement by Phil Spencer provides a tantalising glimpse of of what it may have up its sleeve; "Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise.”
The suggestion here is that Microsoft sees an opportunity to establish or build its brand inside other ecosystems, while monetisation of additional Minecraft content is surely a must if it wants to hit its lofty targets.
Following the sale Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and his fellow Mojang founders Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser are to leave, although Minecraft stalwart Jens Bergensten is to stay on as lead developer.
Meanwhile Notch has spoken out about his decision to call it quits on Minecraft, giving up the rights to the game he’s spent years creating because he prefers making small games. "It's not about the money. It's about my sanity," he wrote. "I don't see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it's fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don't make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don't try to change the world."
That’s that all wrapped up then, Minecraft is now officially in the hands of Microsoft and it’s going to be interesting to see what it has planned. What do you think the future holds for Minecraft? How do you think Microsoft expects to break even on its $2.5 billion investment in under a year? Let us know!