Microsoft to buy Minecraft; fans worry about game’s future

Minecraft is indeed going to be a part of Microsoft. And your reaction to that probably depends a lot on where you sit.

Microsoft on Monday confirmed that it’s reached an agreement to buy Mojang, the Stockholm-based maker of the popular multiplayer online game, for $2.5 billion. The deal is expected to close later this year.

As part of the acquisition, Mojang’s three founders — Markus “Notch” Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser  — are leaving the company. Mojang will be incorporated into Microsoft Studios, the company division behind games such as “Halo” and “Fable.”

The news that Microsoft was taking over and Notch was leaving alarmed many Minecraft fans. Some worried that Microsoft’s ownership would have a negative effect on the Minecraft community.

“We all know Microsoft would find some way to murder the game,” said one user on a popular Minecraft forum. “I worry for the future of Minecraft.”

In a statement, Notch said, essentially, that he’s burned out. He didn’t design Minecraft with the idea that it would become a huge hit and hasn’t been involved in developing the game for years. Despite that, he’s felt responsible for what the game has become — and no longer wanted that burden. Instead, he plans to continue what he’s been doing lately and working on small-scale game prototypes and Web experiments.

“I love you. All of you,” he said. “Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big.”

He added: “It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”

The game, which involves using virtual Lego-like bricks to build structures and customize worlds, has long encouraged fan modifications. Users typically pay a one-time fee to buy the game, but don’t have to pay any monthly charges to log into their world or to download mods.

Some users worried that situation would soon change under Microsoft. The steep purchase price will likely encourage Microsoft to seek more revenue, possibly by charging subscription fees or by cracking down on mods, said some users.

The acquisition “makes me sick and sad,” said one user, adding, “I expect that all the updates, the Mod API, and such will be available for 19.95 a month now.”

Representatives from both Microsoft and Mojang tried to reassure Minecraft fans that the change would be beneficial for them and the game.

In a statement on the company Web site, a Mojang representative said that the future of Minecraft is “extremely important to everyone involved.” The reason the Minecraft maker decided to sell to Microsoft was because the software giant is one of the few companies that has the size and scale to manage and grow the game, the representative said. Microsoft likely won’t takes steps to thwart users’ modifications, the representative said.

“We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been,” said the representative. “Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.”

Some players have feared that with the acquisition, Microsoft would discontinue the versions of Minecraft made for non-Microsoft game platforms such as Apple’s iOS devices and Sony’s PlayStation 4, in order to promote its rival platforms, such as the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone gadgets. But Phil Spencer, who leads Microsoft’s Xbox division, said the company had no such plans. Instead, Microsoft intend to continue to make versions of the game for all the platforms on which its available now, he said.

More broadly, Spencer tried to convey that Microsoft knows better than to muck up a good thing.

“We are going to maintain ‘Minecraft’ and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future,” he said in a statement.

In announcing the deal, Microsoft pledged that Minecraft could tap into its expertise in cloud and soft development, which, it promised, would bring “richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the “Minecraft” community.”

At least some fans were willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, and some were even enthusiastic about these potential benefits for their favorite game.

“Although I would prefer Mojang remain independent, being bought by MS could bode very well for the health of the game as a whole,” said one user on the Minecraft forum. “With little effort in advertising we could see a whole new crop of people out there.”

Photo: Screen capture from Minecraft.

 

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  • Jon

    I dont think microsoft will add subscription fees but make the game more better and faster with the new cloud.

  • bob

    you better not screw mincraft up

  • Chris Manriquez

    Let’s not forget Notch’s real message. TO CREATE. We live on this planet and were made to create, advance, and grow. I truly believe Notch felt responsible for a MAJOR distraction in society, and that wasn’t the plan at all. At the end of the day, Minecraft is just another game.. It is a creation of man, but it’s just a game (Dont get me wrong I’ve played countless hours) but the real meaning is to go and create while we’re here and alive! He even put that message after you beat The End. The world is in a bizzare state and all of us must contribute to making our life and planet better for our kids’ sake. Otherwise, Minecraft won’t exist along with the Human Race. People became addicted to this game because of the “feeling and satisfaction” that they’re creating something. When in reality it’s only virtual. I just hope some kids got the real message of the Minecraft era and go on to do really awesome things in life *cough cough* engineers, architects perhaps? We need that. Let Minecraft die under Microsoft. They really think they got everyone suckered in this one. Let’s do what we were put on this planet to do, and CREATE. After all, Minecraft is Notch’s creation (and he walked away with $2.5billion); what’s your creation?

  • lewis

    i fear microsoft wont do the good job as what notch and jeb are doing at the moment all they want is the cash probley makeing minecraft a monthly buying thing and realy crack down the mods makeing them you pay to download mods if this happens minecraft will end up loseing people like me and many outher fans out there the makers now just need to keep going and to ignore microsoft’s pay it may be a lot but think on how much you are makeing now you have a liveing and possably a wife (i realy dont know on that 1) but you probly have the best job in the world and if you cut out i will have to stand in and make the game myself thank you

  • eggyboy98

    i want to speak to microsoft about the update prices if any.

  • AidyK

    I’m worried for the future of Minecraft, and it’s fans. I hope Microsoft keeps Minecraft the way it is. Fun and free!

  • carl

    either microsoft changes minecraft to a subscription fee model or it admits its shift toward subscription fee models was a bad idea.

  • i hope minecraft is still free later, because I wont be paying a penny to them if this occurs.

  • I HOPE THEY do not ruin minecraft I got minecraft on my Bday

  • I HOPE THEY do not ruin minecraft I got minecraft on my Bday and that sucks I liked the old Owner of minecraft at least we all have servers still

  • i think to microfoft dont change minecraft if you did your dead to me.

  • DAMIAN

    if they make you pay mothly that will be bullshit. why dose microsoft want minecraft anyway. them want everything ther are so greedy. i am sick of their bullshit . but nope now minecraft is owned bye them too

 
 
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