Over the years, Minecraft has exploded in popularity. The core game has sold more than 100 million copies of the game accross many ports. There are versions of Minecraft on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and more. And there have been so many spin-off games that the franchise has become its own brand at this point. So in 2014 when the merger was announced, fans were shocked.
Mojang spokesman Owen Hill and Microsoft have separately sought to reassure fans of the game not to worry at the time. The years since have seen a lot of changes, and tons of new content. But all in all, things have been pretty good.
Minecraft creator Mojang was sold in 2014 to the massive tech company. To acquire Minecraft and Mojang, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion, and that’s for the whole thing. The deal included all Mojang staff and property, as well as their IPs. This would allow Microsoft finer control to keep Minecraft on Xbox and Windows, which is a huge win for them financially. The push to make the Windows 10 port the de-facto version has been a huge success for them.
This is, of course, not the only deal of its kind in recent years. Microsoft also bought the major publisher, Bethesda. The even higher-value deal included all of the Bethesda studios and IP, giving some truly incredible game franchises over to the Redmond company. The likes of Doom and Fallout are all joining the umbrella under Mojang. These deals and many others like it have given the company a huge leg up on the competition. Gamers will see more and more Microsoft studios become first-party in the coming years. It’s very likely that this trend of acquisitions will continue for some time as Western companies compete with titans like Tencent.
It hasn’t all been good for Mojang though. In the years following the sale, creator Notch has become increasingly controversial. The game developer has made multiple open misogynistic and transphobic comments and social media, leading to many fans being upset. The company behind the game even had to remove in-game references to Notch to avoid further backlash.
In response to a My Little Pony meme saying “trans women are women,” Notch said “No, they feel like they are.” In a second tweet, he doubled down on that stance, saying “you are absolutely evil if you want to encourage delusion. What happened to not stigmatizing mental illness?”
His statements and those of infamous UK author J.K. Rowling in the same vein are increasingly at odds with many experts on the subject. In response, Persson doubled down and encouraged violence against those disagreeing with him. In further tweets, he likened anyone who called him out to a strawman of communist politics. He said that “the only good commie is the one your fist is connecting with right this second.” Notch later backed off the outright calls to violence, seemingly after he realized how bad the comments made him look.