Microsoft, as we all know, thinks console exclusivity is going to be what turns around the fortunes of the Xbox One. And we know they’re willing to open their wallet to make that happen. Still, $2 billion is a bit higher than we would have guessed they were willing to pay.
Technically, according to The Verge, Microsoft is paying $2 billion for Mojang AB, but let’s face it, Microsoft’s not buying it for the wildly successful Scrolls. No, instead, they’re locking in the phenomenon of Minecraft, which is probably the single most important game of the last five years.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few statistics: Minecraft has sold 54 million copies so far and is the best-selling PC game of all time. It consistently tops the playing time charts on Xbox Live, beating out Call of Duty entries and other hot games that cost far more to develop and don’t sell nearly as well. The most recent version, for PlayStation, moved a million copies in five weeks.
It’s an interesting move not least thanks to the notoriously prickly Markus Persson, better known as Notch. Notch is so corporate-friendly, he canceled Minecraft for the Oculus Rift once the Facebook buyout became public. And, yet, apparently he’s the one approaching Microsoft about the deal.
Notch won’t be sticking around; he’ll guide the company through the acquisition and then split. He’ll probably do pretty well out of the deal, although it’s clear money is secondary to him. Microsoft apparently plans to start cashing in on Minecraft with more movies and toys once the deal is done. But we suspect, in the long run, it’ll be Notch who will be the one to keep an eye on.