Reports of Microsoft’s plans to acquire Mojang, creator of the Minecraft video game franchise, surfaced earlier this week, shortly after Apple’s iPhone 6 event. Reuters now reports that the surprise deal is said to be worth $2.5 billion, and Microsoft will announce the acquisition on Monday. While there are a number of reasons Microsoft might want to secure the rights to Minecraft, some analysts and developers believe it could be related to Windows Phone.
A Windows Phone Minecraft version could be on the way
Minecraft is incredibly popular on iOS and Android, and the game has around 100 million players across all platforms. Minecraft isn’t currently available on Windows Phone, and Microsoft’s potential acquisition would undoubtedly mean the game would make its way to the platform. "We don’t view this acquisition as a signal of Microsoft's intent to double down on Xbox but consider it an attempt to better address mobile on a cross-platform basis," says Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund. That won’t be the sole reason Microsoft is interested in Minecraft, but the company could opt to create a version for Windows and Windows Phone that has additional features and benefits over those on iOS and Android.
Markus Persson, Minecraft creator and co-founder of Mojang, has always criticized Microsoft’s approach to Windows 8, alongside its small market share with Windows Phone. “Got an email from Microsoft, wanting to help ‘certify’ Minecraft for win 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the pc as an open platform,” said Persson in a tweet nearly two years ago. Persson might be critical, but recent reports suggest he approached Microsoft a few months ago to explore a possibility of a sale. While it’s impossible to say exactly what Microsoft is planning with Minecraft, it appears we’ll find out more very soon.