Last week, we voiced our thoughts on what Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft might do to the game itself as well as the vast community that surrounds it.
In a statement on their website this morning, Microsoft has confirmed that it has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang. According to Microsoft, the acquisition will “enable Minecraft players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the Minecraft community.” The speculated $2.5 billion was also confirmed, and the acquisition is expected to be finalized late 2014.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated: “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.”
Whether or not Microsoft actually cares about Minecraft and its community will remain to be seen as the acquisition comes to a close. A lot of different opinions have been buzzing around since the rumors began, and no one is really sure just how the PC conglomerate is going to handle this multi-platform game. If Microsoft goes ahead with only updating on their own platform, will that cause other non-Xbox communities to fizzle and die, forcing consumers on to the big green machine? The community backlash from that could be huge.
Another big concern we had was how would Microsoft handle Minecraft‘s continuous updates and growth, as well as the communities’ propensity to create millions of custom maps and make them available for download. The thought of micro-transactions loom large and that would be an obvious nail-in-the-coffin scenario for Microsoft.
We shudder to think about graphics changes, too, as part of the charm of Minecraft is its distinctive blocky-ness.
Mojang seems optimistic as well: “The Minecraft players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations. The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of Minecraft,” said Carl Manneh, CEO, Mojang. “As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.”
Both companies acknowledge the community at large, but somehow Mojang’s seems sincere. The idea of a new Mojang title sparks a lot of interest, too. Could they possibly create another game to rival Minecraft and bring their devoted community with them, leaving the vast world of Minecraft utterly desolate of players. That would be a sight.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, also weighed in: “Minecraft is one of the most popular franchises of all time. We are going to maintain Minecraft and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future.”
We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see the results of all this, as the acquisition needs to be completed. This will give the community at large some time to digest the news, though, as we expect some initial anger, frustration, and speculative confusion from the community as to, “Where do we go from here?”
We’ll all just have to wait and see.