back to article What the BLOCK? Microsoft to gobble Minecraft-maker 'for $2bn'

New Microsoft boss Satya Nadella has set his sights on Minecraft maker Mojang as his first major acquisition, according to whispers. The move is probably worth the rumoured $2bn price tag in “woah” value alone, since it's practically the only thing that could have diverted attention away from Apple's iStuff launch on Tuesday. …

  1. Hi Wreck
    Thumb Up

    Makes sense

    The blocky minecraft theme matches the IFKAM perfectly well. Perhaps mineccraft will be the new home screen. Perhaps BoB was just a tad too early.

  2. BongoJoe

    I can't wait.

    Minecraft.Net

    1. Sean O'Connor 1

      Couldn't be worse than the Java code it seems to be written in at the moment. I bought it for the kids the other day and it runs (admittedly on an old Windows machine) unplayably slowly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The blocky minecraft theme matches the IFKAM perfectly well"

        I can see Microsoft upgrading Minecraft to full HD and integrating it with Project Spark. That could be a winner...

        " Couldn't be worse than the Java code it seems to be written in at the moment"

        +1

        If my experience is anything to go by, porting it to .Net would improve performance by a factor of ~ 10 and reduce security vulnerabilities by a factor of ~ 100....

      2. Yugguy

        Works fine for me on a 4 year old unbranded PC with a 25 quid ebay special graphics card.

        As to Microsoft getting Minecraft.

        SWEET LORD JESUS NO!!!!!!! All they will do is turn it into a subscription-based cash cow.

        1. killakrust

          Same here. My 6 year old plays Minecraft no problem on my old Acer laptop which runs a Core2 Duo 1.8ghz CPU and Geforce Go 7600. I just worked out that the laptop is seven and a half years old.

          The Java used to be a real resource hog on 1.7.9 Minecraft, but seems much better on 1.7.10 (not tried 1.8).

    2. dotdavid

      It'll be rebranded to Minecraft.net, then a couple of years later to Minecraft Live, then Bing Minecraft, then they'll shoehorn a completely new interface in that everyone hates (probably featuring a ribbon) and just call it Bingcraft.

  3. Lord Lien
    Alien

    Can I pull the....

    o.O face?

  4. ecofeco Silver badge

    It was fun while it lasted.

    I'm happy for the founders. Well no, not really. 2 BILLION? Oh hell NO!

    On the other hand, it's the death nail for Minecraft. See my other posts about "without warning" disappearances of MS services.

    (kewpie doll to anyone who knows where "death nail" came from)

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: It was fun while it lasted.

      It's death knell (as in bells ringing to announce death), not death nail. I think you are confused with a nail in the coffin.

      1. Joseph Haig
        Coat

        Re: It was fun while it lasted.

        "I think you are confused with a nail in the coffin."

        The last knell in the coffin?

      2. dotdavid

        Re: It was fun while it lasted.

        "It's death knell (as in bells ringing to announce death), not death nail"

        I'm pretty sure you could use a nail as a lethal weapon, would that not be a death nail?

        1. NumptyScrub
          Headmaster

          Re: It was fun while it lasted.

          quote: "I'm pretty sure you could use a nail as a lethal weapon, would that not be a death nail?"

          Nope, that would probably be better referred to as a killing nail (like a "killing blow"). Although I've not heard the term before, I'd suggest a "death nail" might be a nail (toe or finger) removed from a dead person, potentially for commemorative purposes. Similar to a death mask being a cast of the dead persons face, used as an aid to commemoration.

          Searching "Death nail quote" leads to an extensive list of pages using it (incorrectly) as a substitute for death knell. The one link I saw which correctly surmised it should be death knell then used "for all intensive purposes", (should be "all intents and purposes") so I am now officially a sad panda, dis langwij iz fuked innit :(

          1. BongoJoe

            Re: It was fun while it lasted.

            I'm just thinking of Eskimo Nell in a coffin...

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: It was fun while it lasted.

      >>(kewpie doll to anyone who knows where "death nail" came from)

      Confusion between "death knell" and "nail in the coffin", I would guess.

    3. King Jack

      Re: It was fun while it lasted.

      A death nail was used in one of the Lethal Weapon films using a powerful nail gun. When the bad guy got killed Glover said He nailed him.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was fun while it lasted.

      It was fun while it lasted.

      I'm happy for the founders. Well no, not really. 2 BILLION? Oh hell NO!

      On the other hand, it's the death nail for Minecraft. See my other posts about "without warning" disappearances of MS services.

      Yup, it's the death nail in the coffin (to build on your phrase) for Minecraft. It will now go the way of all acquisitions by that famed killer of usability. I had to work with Visio a few weeks ago, and I didn't recognise the formerly elegant and rather fast program *at all*. To butcher an interface that badly is no accident, it takes skill and an iron determination not to leave anything usable intact. Criminal.

      Thus, so long Minecraft - may your grave be calm and rectangular.

    5. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: It was fun while it lasted.

      "Death nail" was a common malapropism seen in the early days of Internet BBS's and made famous as a deliberate misquote at FC.

  5. P. Lee Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Cue increase in Office365 subscription costs

    ... and little messages in Outlook inviting you to play Minecraft with others who also play it.

    2bn outlay for 114m profit? 5% ROI on a game which isn't that new? Gratz to the founders!

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: Cue increase in Office365 subscription costs

      That was $114.8m profit from $2.9bn in sales.

      I see no reason why Microsoft cannot increase that profit by a few hundred million once they integrate Mojang with their own operations

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    Thinking big?

    The 3D UK Minecraft 'map' provided a 10m resolution but was only a few hundred megs in size as a download (IIRC), and uncompressed to less than 4GB. Now, think of a map service using the same technology for all of Europe - it would probably be less than 50GB, which is within the capabilities of the latest smartphones. Even if just used as a frame, with a background service downloading Googlecar-like, stitched-together photos to go onto the frame, it would allow for a pretty impressive navigation service. Microsoft may be looking at more than just games for the code.

  7. Turtle

    $2bn

    "In August, Notch softened his stance on The Social Network."

    As we all know, $2bn buys lots of softening...

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    My only thought

    Oh, god, please NO! Please keep Microsoft away from this as far as possible!

    1. Steven Davison

      Re: My only thought

      My thoughts exactly. I've tweeted Notch about it. Hopefully there will be some kind of explanation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My only thought

        An explanation other than 2 billion dollars?

        What else do you need to know? Kudos to the guy, he's done indie game dev *right*.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: My only thought

        Did you ask him why he decided not to turn down two billion dollars and keep it real in his bedsit?

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: My only thought

          "Did you ask him why he decided not to turn down two billion dollars and keep it real in his bedsit?"

          $115m in profit last year? That's some bedsit.

  9. Ginolard
    Joke

    I'll call you...

    Just another Notch in Microsoft's bedpost

  10. LaeMing Silver badge
    Go

    Well, there is always MineTest

    http://minetest.net/

  11. J J Carter Silver badge

    Makes sense, bolster Xbox h/w team with a solid game authoring unit, then spin it out from MSFT as seperate company. It's not core business.

  12. Not Terry Wogan

    Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

    TWO BILLION? Two billion US dollars? Are you sure it's not two billion Zimbabwean dollars or something?

    Nadella must be off his chump.

    Quick! If we all chip in a fiver we could buy Second Life from whoever owns it, rename it 'Lifecraft' or something crap, and flog it off to Nadella for at least a billion!

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

      The numbers are large, but it's not actually insane.

      The company has revenues of $2.9 billion, but a tiny profit of $150 million. It looks like they're being fleeced by their infrastructure costs (or someone's building an volcanic island lair in the Caribbean)

      Under MS ownership, I can see those costs dropping dramatically, mainly because Microsoft will be paying a hell of a lot less for their IT infrastructure than the current owners do. Get the profits up to 20% of revenue, and that $2bn doesn't look like a bad investment.

      If you want insanity, have a look at Facebook and Instagram. Instagram had, um, zero profits, but it made them off zero revenue too, so on percentage terms, I guess it wasn't so bad, right?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

        "The company has revenues of $2.9 billion, but a tiny profit of $150 million. It looks like they're being fleeced by their infrastructure costs (or someone's building an volcanic island lair in the Caribbean)"

        Or they are not making much profit per unit because they price is low? Although it isn't really for an indie game, so yes, no idea where Minecraft (couple of guys in an office) spent $2.75bn in a year.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

          It was $290m in profit.

          C.

        2. Turtle

          @DavCrav

          "no idea where Minecraft (couple of guys in an office) spent $2.75bn in a year."

          Hookers and blow. I mean, where else could it have gone?

      2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

        "The company has revenues of $2.9 billion, but a tiny profit of $150 million."

        It was $290m.

        C.

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

      quote: "TWO BILLION? Two billion US dollars? Are you sure it's not two billion Zimbabwean dollars or something?

      Nadella must be off his chump."

      Ask Zuckerberg how much he paid for WhatsApp, on the back of less profit per year.

      Either big companies are staffed with utter fuckwits (possible) or some purchases have other reasons than simple profit seeking (also possible).

      Personally, I reckon MS have looked at it, and decided what Minecraft really needs is in-app purchases, and that they are just the people to wring every last cent out of it. I will now go observe a 2-minutes silence for platform-independent, independent games development :(

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

        It already has in app purchases.

        At least on the Xbox texture and skin packs cost real life pennies...

  13. jb99

    Doubt this will make much difference to minecraft itsself, it's neither good or bad in itsself.

    But 2 billion! How can a single game company be worth that?

    1. Jagged

      "Doubt this will make much difference to minecraft itsself, it's neither good or bad in itsself."

      - if Microsoft leaves the game alone, yes. If they decide to "integrate" it into the Microsoft infrastructure or only develop the Microsoft platforms, then it will be a bad thing.

      1. dogged

        If they decide to "integrate" it into the Microsoft infrastructure or only develop the Microsoft platforms, then it will be a bad thing.

        I disagree.

        By shoving it onto Azure, MS can reduce the infrastructure costs to a rounding error and that means more of that $2.9bn sales revenue becomes profit.

    2. auburnman

      Presumably MS are betting big that interesting exclusives will 'make' the XBone, in the same way that the original XBox was 'made' by Halo. I think the big battleground of this console generation will be who best supports/captures the resurgent Indie games.

      When you think an engaging concept with retro graphics like Minecraft or Hotline:Miami can make AAA money off a shoestring budget, it's a no-brainer really.

      (EDIT: to clarify, courting Indie studios is what I consider to be the no brainer, MS have most likely overpaid for Mojang bigtime in true Corporate Monolith form.)

      1. h4rm0ny

        >>"Presumably MS are betting big that interesting exclusives will 'make' the XBone, in the same way that the original XBox was 'made' by Halo. I think the big battleground of this console generation will be who best supports/captures the resurgent Indie games."

        Possibly, but you do that by backing the next big thing, not the current or last big thing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Presumably MS are betting big that interesting exclusives will 'make' the XBone,"

        The fact that the Xbox One will now play MKVs, supports DNLA and doesn't have forced Cinavia will be more likely to win that battle...

        1. BongoJoe
          Pint

          I already get offered updates for Microsoft applications, such as Silverlight, that I haven't installed. So, I can only assume it won't be long before I get pestered on Patch Tuesday* with MineCraft updates.

          Or perhaps MS can integrate it with SQL Express and then we can have Data Mine Craft additions...

          Sorry, it's a slow day and I can't get my head into coding mode at all. Is it Gin and Tonic o'clock yet?

      3. eswan

        Remember- before Microsoft bought out Halo, it was going to be released on PC, Mac, and Linux.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          My 8 y/o daughter plays Minecraft on her Linux laptop. MS wouldn't stop at anything to prevent that.

          1. Tim Bates

            Most public servers run on Linux too. Goodbye to those if MS decide to mess with the balance.

  14. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    So what

    There's so many derivitives of MC on the portable platforms now that losing MC to MS will be no great hardship, I fully expect that there's already plenty of open source alternatives to MC on various platforms.

    Same old tale, a great success story but the big boys only move in late. They realise they've bought a duff one but they push on. They mess with it trying to get their money back but because it's been cloned and copied, usually bettered, they fail and then they "bargain basement" the product back to the original maker!

    I'd almost put money down on MS buying it for stupid money and selling it back to Notch for a $150m in 3 years time!

  15. Anonymoist Cowyard

    Desperate times

    Call fir desperate measures.

    Will this mske people want Windows Phone or Xbox One commercial failures? Of course it won't. Have Microsoft run out if options for these products? End of the road.

  16. memotypic

    Clumsy giant buys butterfly farm

    No good can come of this unless you're a founder who wants their own plane. Modding is what makes Minecraft special - certainly that's what keeps my kids playing - but MS don't do variety/community at all well. A vanilla console version has a limited span which MS will shorten further by integrating 'Live' crap. Hope to god this is just a way to distract from the slow public decline of Apple.

    1. jaywin

      Re: Clumsy giant buys butterfly farm

      > Modding is what makes Minecraft special - certainly that's what keeps my kids playing - but MS don't do variety/community at all well.

      Flight Simulator says differently.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Clumsy giant buys butterfly farm

        Flight sim said differently. Untill they made it harder in FSX and then killed Flight Simulator off entirely by closing ACES studio! And then came the gamified piece of shit that is Flight, with its payed DLC and completely closed environment. Which promptly got killed as well.

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  18. Gideon 1

    My kid has already got bored of Minecraft and moved on to other games, like Roblox which allows greater user game creation possibilities. If this the sale goes ahead Notch may have got his timing just right.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I don't think it's ever late to trouser $2 billion.

      I'm even willing to wait until next week.

  19. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Tile to blocks

    At least we know now what the windows 9 user interface will now look like

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You've got to be kidding

    RIP

  21. John Sanders
    Facepalm

    I can not believe it

    No fucking way....

    RIP Minecraft. :'-(

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. h4rm0ny
      Thumb Up

      Re: I can not believe it

      Okay. I take back my last two posts. I thought this was a massive waste of $2bn dollars.

      But seeing the agonized reactions of so many Microsoft-haters? Totally worth it! :D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can not believe it

        Okay. I take back my last two posts. I thought this was a massive waste of $2bn dollars.

        But seeing the agonized reactions of so many Microsoft-haters? Totally worth it! :D

        And by that comment you have progressed to the level of the True El Reg Commentard spirit.

        I salute you, oh newly anointed. And get the beer.

    2. John Sanders
      Unhappy

      Re: I can not believe it

      Yes downvote, as if you do not know what's going to happen to the game in the long term.

      For a start, the Mac & Linux versions will begin to lag behind the other OS/XBOX version

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The other blocks

    How much of Mojang's income (I believe they have a couple of other games as well) comes from the Lego tie-in, or the toys, or the books? I'll discount T-shirts because I'm fairly sure the one someone bought for my son off a Malaysian market wasn't strictly legit.

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: The other blocks

      Their merchandise must make a bit for them... Plush creeper £20!

  23. poopypants

    Notch hasn't released it on Steam

    Consequently I have never played it. I guess that's not going to change.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Indeed he hasn't.

      But there's Blockstorm, Robocraft, Creativerse, Murder Miners . . . I think I'll stop looking there now.

  24. h4rm0ny

    I have seen some stupid things in my time, but this is a contender for the cake.

    "Let's pay far too much for something far too late".

  25. Wombling_Free

    I've got this nice bridge, too.

    It's even built in Minecraft. It must be worth at least a couple of mil?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lego

    Minecraft is this generations Lego and World of Warcraft in one. Its profitable too. It might actually be worth $2bn, even if this seems crazy money to you and I.

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Go

    Expanding on the 3D map idea.

    Imagine a search tool and mapping tool that is truly interactive, a kind of Bing Search/Maps meets Second Life. You go to Bing and search for a clothes shop in your area, and it offers the results, the routes to them, and you can fly over it or walk/drive through it in the virtual copy of the real World, and the environment reacts to your presence. You pass a shop and it not only tells you what the shop is but the underlying code makes it truly interactive - you can tap on the door and take a virtual tour, even a real 3D tour of the shop if the shop's owners pay for the Minecraft mod work to create the shop environment. You can browse their stock and click on items to download real shots of the products, place orders, talk to virtual staff, or carry out any interaction the game can be coded to allow. With the power of Azure behind it the same interface could run on mobile phones as on full desktops and provide an experience and service Google cannot currently match. Make access a free app purchase download and then charge those that create shops or sites inside the 'World'. It could be Second Life done right, based not on some fake world but on the real World, and there could be nice sideline of selling the game and development kits and pay-to-play virtual worlds (say a Minecraft MMPORPG mod of Arthurian Britain, only with real map data). Maybe not such a daft purchase after all.

  28. This post has been deleted by a moderator

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