News reports were out last week that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was trying to acquire Mojang, the Swedish game developer behind Minecraft. That deal is now being confirmed — for a sum of $2.5 billion. The big question to ask now is if this sets up the Xbox unit to become an independent company via a spin-off or by other means.
Microsoft’s announcement said that the company expects the acquisition to be break-even in its 2015 results. The acquisition is also expected to close in late 2014.
Mojang is about more than just Minecraft. The founders are moving on to start new projects as well. Microsoft plans to continue to make Minecraft available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.
Here are some of the official statistics about Minecraft:
- More than 100 million downloads, on PC alone, by players since its launch in 2009
- The most popular online game on Xbox
- The top paid app for iOS and Android in the United States
- More than 2 billion hours the Minecraft community has played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years
- Nearly 90% of paid customers on the PC having signed in within the past 12 months
The Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, which includes the studios behind global blockbuster franchises Halo, Forza, Fable and more. Microsoft’s investments in cloud and mobile technologies will enable Minecraft players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools and more opportunities to connect across the Minecraft community.
Microsoft has a market cap of $385 billion, and its $46.69 share price compares to a 52-week range of $32.15 to $47.02.