Mojang purchase adds to Microsoft Studios' "diversity" says Xbox division chief

Founded in 2009, Sweden's Mojang AB is one of the most successful small, independent game developers to date.  Creator of the immensely popular cross platform hit Minecraft, Mojang today offers product for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758PlayStation 4 (PS4), and Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox 360, the PC, and a handful of other platforms.  In 2013 it reported a profit of 816.049M SEK ($114.7M USD) on revenue of 2.069B SEK ($290.7M USD).

Its attractive financials and wild popularity led Microsoft to make good on rumors and purchase the indie developer for $2.5B USD.  In a post on Xbox Wire Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of Xbox business, pledged to keep Minecraft cross-platform, stating:

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.

The Minecraft community is passionate and diverse, ranging across all ages and demographics. We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great, and we’ll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward. Our investments in cloud, Xbox Live and mobile technology will enable players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect with the Minecraft community.

That's not to say that Microsoft's Minecraft players might see some special perks in Windows PCs, phones, and tablets, plus the Xbox.  Microsoft announced last year that Minecraft will be incoming for the Xbox One by the end of this year.  Mojang also develops two other titles -- Scrolls, a tactical RPG, and Cobalt, a side-scroller shooter title.

Minecraft logo

Microsoft reports that Minecraft has seen over 100 million downloads and purchases over its lifetime.  And it reports that Xbox 360 players alone have logged 2 billion hours into playing the title.  That's a lot of playtime.

Some may scratch their heads or shrug at the purchase.  But at the end of the day Microsoft bought a highly profitable developer for a premium rate.  While the purchase may not pay off directly overnight, it at least guarantees a more direct payoff than other high profile acquisitions, such as Facebook, Inc.'s (FB) purchase of WhatsApp -- a messaging service with loads of customers, but virtually no revenue stream -- in a deal that eventually became worth over $19B USD.

Source: Xbox Wire

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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