The rumors are true and both companies just confirmed that Microsoft has acquired Mojang. The deal is said to be worth over $2.5 billion according to sources. However, while some might believe Microsoft wants Minecraft to boost its Xbox One video game console; that might not be the real plan behind this deal.
"Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft," Mojang confirmed through its official blog. "Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you - the community - are extremely important to everyone involved."
According to one analyst, Microsoft is mainly interested in Mojang to help boost sales of its lagging Windows Phone platform. This isn't too farfetched since Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, made it clear that the company is taking a mobile first, cloud first, mantra. We're not certain if Minecraft or anything Mojang is working on right now can bring life to the Windows Phone platform, but anything is possible.
"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."
Currently, Windows Phone only has around 2.5 percent market share worldwide. That's a small number, and this is the reason why Minecraft is not available on the platform. The game can be found on both iOS and Android, and is currently one of the most top selling games on Apple's platform to-date.
"Today is an incredibly exciting day for our team as Mojang and the Minecraft franchise join Microsoft. Minecraft is one of the most popular video games of all time, with more than 100 million downloads, on PC alone, from players since its launch in 2009," Microsoft stated. "At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. 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. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms - including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC."
Going after Mojang for the purpose of boosting the adoption of its Windows Phone platform seems quite shortsighted, so something else is going on here. Chances are, Microsoft wants to tap into the younger crowd and get them to sign-up for a Microsoft account.
Having a Microsoft account gives users the ability to take advantage of several of Microsoft's key cloud-based services. Furthermore, it is possible that Microsoft could use Minecraft as a ploy to push Skype back into the messaging game, and to show off its Azure cloud platform.
Let's face it; $2.5 billion is a lot of money, so chances are Mojang is working on something that managed to intrigue Microsoft, because this couldn't just be about Minecraft.
The loss of Twitch of Amazon
Microsoft is still feeling the burn after losing out to Amazon in the bidding war for Twitch. Just imagine what would happen if another company swiped Mojang instead of Microsoft, it would be a total disaster for the company, and a wakeup call that would prove the software giant is lacking something start-ups require.
With the deal confirmed, Microsoft gets a massive chance to work its way into the mind of teenagers, and to become a company that is as cool as Apple and Google.