Microsoft’s impending purchase of Mojang, the Swedish developer with 100 million players of its open world Minecraft game is set for Monday, September 15, and is probably more aimed at pulling users onto the software company’s mobile platform, according to a Reuters report. Seeing as how Minecraft is also available on mobile, and with the reported 2.5% influence of Windows Phone compared to its Android and iOS rivals, this is a pretty viable reason.
The reported Microsoft deal with buying out Minecraft is now reportedly up to a $2.5 billion dollar enterprise. And this may be due not only for its Xbox One and Xbox 360 arm, but also for the mobile section of Microsoft. In other words, Microsoft buys Minecraft in order to boost its mobile platform.
Reuters also said $2.5 billion is “small change” to Microsoft as they already have “$86 billion in cash and short-term investments”. Obviously this means Microsoft has a lot of money and $2.5 billion to buy Mojang will not hurt them financially in any way. Reuters did however say that this would be one of the biggest video game acquisitions in history. If you remember, Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for $2 billion earlier this year.
Minecraft is the top paid app both on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems. In April, Jens Bergensten of the Mojang’s mobile team revealed that Pocket Edition sold over 21 million copies.
“It seems like Microsoft is looking at Mojang and Minecraft as a way to tap into this enormous cultural phenomenon,” said Dave Bisceglia, Chief Executive of independent game studio Tap Lab. “If you look at iOS, Minecraft has been a top-grossing game for quite some time, if Microsoft could on Windows phones give players a unique and compelling experience that you can’t get on the other platforms, that could be a driver to sell devices to existing Minecraft fans.”
Minecraft was launched five years ago as a PC game, but 54 million sales later, about 40 % of copies are downloaded onto phones and tablets. Left to their own devices, it does not seem likely that Mojang’s 40-strong team would ever get round to designing a Windows Phone version of Minecraft.
The implications for Microsoft to acquire Mojang are huge. If Minecraft is to be Microsoft exclusive, the Xbox One could have a potential huge hit if Minecraft 2 is ever made. The game could still be released on PC and Windows Phones, but other platforms would be out of the equation.
However, according to Examiner, this may not be the case. Even though the buyout may happen, there are reports that Microsoft may not necessarily stop the sales of the three PlayStation platform editions. However, whether or not this will continue with the expected updates following the launch has not yet been announced.
Minecraft is already available on PC, mobile, Xbox 360, and PS3, and it recently released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game continues to make it onto both digital and retail top 10 sales charts month after month. Purported inside sources speaking to Bloomberg claim that “Microsoft will keep Minecraft available for rival products” should the deal proceed.
Microsoft’s sales of computing and gaming hardware, which includes Xbox, raised 23pc from a year earlier to $1.44bn in the three months ended June 30. In total, Microsoft’s revenue for the quarter was $23.4bn.
“We don’t view this acquisition as a signal of Microsoft’s intent to double down on Xbox but consider it an attempt to better address mobile on a cross-platform basis,” said Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund in a note to clients this week. “This also appears to be consistent with (Microsoft) CEO Satya Nadella’s mobile and cloud strategy.”
Minecraft is most widely known as an expansive sandbox type game where players are thrown into a randomly generated world with nothing but his bare hands to work with. From there, players will have to gather materials in order to build a shelter, gather food, and survive.