its $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft
developer Mojang today, with Microsofts's Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer noting that the acquisition "adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms."
It's a big chunk of change to spend on an independent studio founded in 2010, but its juggernaut product has since sold over 15 million units
and spawned a merchandising empire. Minecraft
earned a reported $326 million
in revenue last year, continuing its year-on-year trend of increased profitability.
Creator Markus Persson expressed a desire to move away from Minecraft
earlier this year following a notable shift
in indie development culture, however. "The current indie scene is as new for the people making games as it is for the audience," Joystiq editor Jess Conditt wrote. "Indie developers don't have trained PR teams to guide them through the drama; many don't know that the press and public will take their tweets seriously; some of them aren't even sure what an embargo is. They receive death threats and then react like candid humans when the audience expects them to behave like detached professionals."
"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately," Persson said in reference to the Microsoft purchase.
Here's a quick rundown of the events that led up to today's deal.