back to article Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5bn. Notch: I'm getting the block outta here

When Microsoft acquires Minecraft maker Mojang for a dizzying $2.5bn, the game's creator won't be coming along for the ride. Markus "Notch" Persson, who released the first version of Minecraft in 2009, said in a blog post on his personal webpage that he will be leaving Mojang following the acquisition, citing his desire to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair enough. I'm geek, and I'd be the same.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Here's the inside story of why Microsoft bought Minecraft

      You may recall that somebody using Minecraft built an 'actual' Hard Disk Drive using millions of those silly blocks. Others have built fully functional CPUs and so on, using the same silly blocks.

      The technical folks at Microsoft having heard about these accomplishments got somewhat confused, and they somehow assumed that this meant that HDDs and CPUs could now be virtualized. They schemed to cut Intel, AMD, Seagate and other hardware manufacturers out of the PC market. All their hardware will be replaced with virtual hardware built up from those silly Minecraft blocks, trillions of them per fully-virtualized PC. All PC hardware will be replaced by virtual Minecraft blocks, rented by Microsoft.

      Somebody from the HR section happened to be walking by the conference room and overheard their nefarious plans. The HR drone stuck their head in and asked if the virtualized PC would need to be run on actual hardware.

      The MS Brain Trust replied nearly in perfect unison, "No, we plan to use recursion. It'll be software all the way down!"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the end of the day... he can do whatever he likes. He has no obligation to anyone no matter how loud they scream and moan.

  3. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Congratulations Notch

    Well done to the guy. He seems a rare specimin of a decent human being and he deserves the success his hard work has brought him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congratulations Notch

      He always seemed a bit more like a scumbag to me. I mean, Minecraft itself was basically a clone of an existing freeware game (Infiniminer) that had its source code inadvertently leaked. Early versions of Minecraft came out weeks later, and looked and played virtually identical to the game, with the exception that they left out the team-based gameplay elements to focus strictly on building. Despite the fact that the game was almost plagiarism, he decided to monetize it, and people threw their money at the thing for some incomprehensible reason. Only after he started raking in cash did the game significantly diverge and start to offer more advanced features like open world exploration, enemies and so on. Now, he's offloaded the game for billions of dollars to a company who has no chance of ever recouping their investment on it, and jumped ship so that he can focus on things more important to him, like polishing his solid-gold car and tripping elderly women in the street.

  4. HippyFreetard

    Kerching!

    That's a lot of cash.

    Hopefully they'll still release a Linux version...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kerching!

      Build a Linux version?!

      Surely Linux users are already required to build, compile, hack and modify on a daily basis without having to go anywhere near a mouse.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: Kerching!

        Yes, because typing 'java minecraft.jar' is some real elite hacking...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Kerching!

          It is to a MS fanboy. They get confused if there isn't a "Next" or "OK" button to click.

          Although my 9 y/o daughter was able to put a link on her desktop to start minecraft.

          1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Kerching!

            > It is to a MS fanboy.

            Yeah, they'd expect at least to be required to do a Control Alt Tab, Control A Control V .... etc and probably a regedit before it would ever actually work.

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Kerching!

          java minecraft.jar

          won't work ...

          try

          $ java -jar minecraft.jar

          Or simply double click it. Works great on Linux, BTW - this will change soon, it will become just like Skype, they will break it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kerching!

        " Linux users are already required to build, compile, hack and modify"

        They might be able to, but not required to. My Wife (who's very non-technical) is able to use Linux at work, and she doesn't even know what compiling (software) means.

        Your scant knowledge on one of the most popular operating systems is embarrassing to you, your employer, and even fellow Windows users (like myself), if you actually do work in the IT industry.

        I suggest you learn some more (even out of curiosity) of how the majority of machines that the Internet relies upon actually work because the students of today are already running rings around the likes of you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Kerching!

          "My Wife (who's very non-technical) is able to use Linux at work, and she doesn't even know what compiling (software) means."

          In other words, YOU installed linux, set it all up, put all the pretty icons on the desktop and said "here, love, press this to email and this to surf".

          What happens when it doesn't email and surf. I'm sure your non techie SOH can then easliy reinstall it and set it all up...

          Ahh, thats where YOU come back in.

          I have a non techie wife, she uses windows because i use windows. Doesnt mean she can fix it when it borks out on her....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Kerching!

            I'm sorry I upset you.

            1. I'm not the IT staff at her work, and I was just using it as an example. If I didn't mention it, you wouldn't have had a straw-man to blow down.

            2. I use Windows.

      3. dan1980

        Re: Kerching!

        @AC (and the down-voters)

        I took that as a gentle joke, saying that many of the tasks of Minecraft have parallels in Linux. To the person who shot back to say this was ignorance, perhaps you misinterpret the purpose of a joke?

        There is no evidence that our cowardly friend is in anyway ignorant of the amazing breadth of modern Linux experiences. Many jokes are based on a core of truth but take advantage of stereotypes and hyperbole to turn a simple observation or comparison into humour.

        Lighten up people.

        No, Linux isn't all blinking cursors and obscure commands but dry cleaners don't all ruin and shrink your clothes but the skit is still funny.

        1. Tex Arcana

          Re: Kerching!

          "No, Linux isn't all blinking cursors and obscure commands"

          To the true Linusti, it is... ←_←→_→

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Kerching!

      Hopefully they'll still release a Linux version...

      That was my first thought too, but barring some pretty major changes we'd still be able to make the Windows version run natively under Linux. And even with some pretty major changes it'd probably still run under Wine.

  5. PaulM 1

    Its time for Notch to write a new game

    I cant imagine Minecraft ever getting better. Minecraft reminds me of the greatest game of 1989 Populous. Populous went through 3 iterations and then it was time for Peter Molyneux to move on and write the completely new game Fable. Presumably Notch is planning to do something new soon and so he may as well do it out of the company (with money in his pocket) as within.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its time for Notch to write a new game

      They'll ruin it like EA did to SimCity.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Its time for Notch to write a new game

        Or like they have with Sims 4. No EA, I am NOT spending another £80 just so I can play the Sims on the same pc that my daughter plays it on when she's not playing it, while the install disc is still in the drive.

        £15 each for a Mojang account so we can have our own logins I don't mind, but no way I'm buying the same single player game twice for the same PC.

  6. Flymo
    Pint

    Good move!

    Just grab that money and run (laughing) all the way to the bank!

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Good move!

      Well sure - if it would have been me selling something I made for a few cool billions, chances are I wouldn't feel the itch any more to make anything remotely popular again either...

  7. Daniel B.
    Boffin

    0x10c

    Well, the 0x10c project seems to be an interesting project. It'll be nice to see that one prosper now that Notch has much more free time.

    1. Marcus Aurelius
      Devil

      Re: 0x10c

      The question is whether it will ever be completed, assuming Notch has several hundred million to use on more uselful things like yachts and women.....

      1. breakfast

        Re: 0x10c

        The impression I have always had of Notch is that he has pretty high geek skills. Give him several hundred million to use on things like yachts and women and I would not be at all surprised to find him still sat in a corner hacking out some new game ideas.

  8. Trigun
    Trollface

    Microsoft Minecraft EULA addendum

    Now that Microsoft own Minecraft, there will be a number of changes ...

    *Editions*

    Minecraft

    Minecraft Pro

    *Licensing Models*

    Minecraft OEM

    Minecraft Retail

    Minecraft VL via KMS

    *Rough Guide Price*

    Retail £189.99

    OEM £105.99

    VL = Gold mine

    Updates: Minor updates FREE, Major updates: £100.00

    *Game change implementation plan*

    "The UI formerly known as metro" to be injected to the menu screen

    Office Ribbon to be added into the HUD

    Mouse support to be reduced

    Touch screen support implemented

    Activation mandatory within 3 days

    Security back doors for special GCHQ/NSA firmware upgrades

    COA to be displayed on the outside of the device is mandatory

    Installation via WDS possible

    Updates via WSUS/Windows Updates

    Internet Explorer use mandatory

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Minecraft EULA addendum

      "Minecraft 2014"

    2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Minecraft EULA addendum

      Don't forget in game purchases, all materials used in construction are now to be purchased in the new store feature.

    3. Breen Whitman

      Re: Microsoft Minecraft EULA addendum

      So. .. Can I just transfer my minecraft COA if I upgrade my cpu and mobo.

      Can I play MC on my surface tab. My friend says the licence includes PC plus one mobile device.

  9. slugmeister

    Two wrongs make right?

    Few things. We might get redevelopment targeted for PC in something other than the lagfest that is Java. Yes, the game really needs it - the latest update has shown that Mojang's resources are stretched and performance isn't a priority, or at least is being compromised. Secondly, I wonder if Markus will swing some cash to Zachary Barth? If its truly not about the money, and about his sanity then that might be a way to recharge his soul which might empower him to take on another big challenge. The other thing is will Microsoft 'get' this game, and its following, and lead the masses to future enjoyment, or milk all their money, or maybe both?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two wrongs make right?

      No. They're just unable to create a killer app for their failing platform, so they'll buy it instead - blowing the Windows+Office money we've been shovelling to them over the years, instead of investing it on improving what we actually want to (or have to) use.

      I don't play Minecraft, so I don't care that they'll destroy it like everything else. It's just a craze/fad for the kids, they'll get bored of it soon and move on to something else. More so now that MS have their mits on it.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: Two wrongs make right?

      If MS targets "something other than Java", it'll be .NET which isn't an improvement at all. The only thing achieved will be MS lock-in.

  10. Dave W
    Thumb Up

    hehe

    Far be it from me to question Microsoft's business dealings.

    But they have just spent several billion pounds purchasing a player-base of millions... Who, get this, *already own the game*.

    There is no way Microsoft can ever recoup this expenditure. Unless they plan to launch lawsuits against the dozens of Minecraft-alike games proliferating the market...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hehe

      They'll just fleece the existing users by adding in-app purchasing, churn new versions each year, it might even give some kids a reason to use Windows.

      The even funnier thing is, this purchase is in the same league as the Nokia one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hehe

      MS need to learn this:

      "If you see a bandwagon, it's too late."

      Sir James Goldsmith.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hehe

      Ok I will explain.

      The value to Microsoft is in:

      - licensing deals. All those toys, t-shirts, mugs, and tv/movie potentials.

      - further customer base. There's always more kids reaching the age when they want it. In fact, it's a supply of new customers that never ends.

      - advertising. Forums, web front ends, gaming events. All with opportunity for Microsoft to self-advertise or sell space.

      - Branding. Kids start to associate Microsoft with something they see as very cool. If Microsoft do Minecraft, then perhaps those other MS products like Windows mobile and Xbox are worth a try.

      - Invester confidence. Microsoft getting further into an expanding market helps confidence and share price.

      - Player base. They now have a vast amount of gaming subscriber detail. Who bought the game and when. Who gets updates. Who are active. This information can be used to improve future marketing target, direct advertising and development choices across different platform and product groups.

      This world is about so much more than selling game units. Thats the tip of the (/sand block/) Minecraft pyramid of opportunity.

  11. John Sanders

    Poor Notch...

    Dear Notch

    Cut the crap, your game made you a millionaire, not a victim, I can understand you selling your property because it is yours, but come on, it had to be Microsoft? Really????

    And I bet you did not ensure that contractually they carry on developing the Linux version, or that community mods are still possible in the future...

    And that shit about not wanting to change the world, no one ever realizes, it just happens, thats why people change the world, if it could be pre-planned Microsoft, Sony or EA would have made Minecraft.

    Now go to your corner and cry over your big pile of money, tell the money how sad you are that people on the Internet is mean/stresses you out, you do not owe us anything.

    Me in the mean time cracked Minecraft 1.7.9 client and server so I can play with my kids on my Linux boxes.

    1. lansalot

      Re: Poor Notch...

      Wow!

      Impressed at your ability to be so protective over your toys (while kicking your own personal ones out of the pram) and pissed-off at the developer actually getting paid for something you admit you've stolen.

      Err.... *slow-hand-clap* ?

      1. John Sanders
        Unhappy

        Re: Poor Notch...

        This is what you get wrong, I have been a paying customer since he made the game available.

        In fact one license for me and another per child, three in total.

        I paid so I could run my own server.

        I hacked/cracked the versions I currently run so I can run them without MS interference. I get the feeling in my guts that I paid for nothing.

        I'm royally pissed off not just because he sold the game to MS (fcuk MS!!!) but because he's crying all the way to the bank, he's so sensible such a good human being.

        Cut the crap, he got 2.5B from MS we deserve to be treated like adults, and be told some cute history of how much hate he got from the community, only very gullible people would believe that, he did not sell it out of anguish or stress. It was a business decision on something that it is his property. You do not cut a deal like that in a couple of weeks. This was long in the making.

        And we do not need to be told a fairy tale of stress. When you make millions with a product, and then even more millions you PAY others to deal with the stress.

        Excuse me, but this guy is one of the best examples of hypocrisy ever made, and people is feeling sorry for him?

        It is me slow clapping.

  12. dan1980

    I still don't actually get the point (or popularity) of Minecraft. I mean, what's the deal? That said, I don't get the popularity of Angry Birds either.

    I enjoy video games as much as the next person but I just don't see the allure of this one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not a game per se, such as Lego isn't a game. It's a construction set. The appeal is that you can do what you want in it.

      I don't find it appealing personally, I spend all day solving problems, I like to be led down a story path and be entertained in my game downtime these days.

      1. ProperDave

        I've played with it since the Alpha stages - there's the lego angle, but it's also that it's Java - kids learning Java at school can actually mod it with relative ease. My young teen brother has created some custom blocks in the game as he's been learning programming as a hobby.

        Mojang also introduced functionality to allow players to build scripted scenarios into the game, so it sort of allows sandbox-like tools to create your own adventures, a bit like the level-builder tools in other games. There's loads of kids building their own 'games' using Minecraft as their engine.

        But @Dave W is right - Microsoft's bought a successful game that's already reached the majority of its audience through word of mouth... there's room to grow, but not by much.

        The only way to profit from this is to release a 2.0 which unfortunately, Mojang's already said players would have to buy again, even though Persson originally claimed back in 2009 that you would never have to buy the game again - all upgrades would be free. When the game started going viral they altered the T&C's to be 'every minor version would be free'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @dan1980

      "I still don't actually get the point (or popularity) of Minecraft. I mean, what's the deal?"

      First of all there's the extensiveness in the game itself. The ability to construct ("craft") things in many different ways. Example: collect sand and you can smelt ("cook") it into glass, and if you got glass you can craft it into glass panes. Or a little deeper: collect clay balls and you can smelt ("cook") them into bricks, which you can then assemble into a "brick block" (the commonly known red/white brick pattern). OR you can use the balls to re-create the clay block(s), then smelt ("cook") that and you suddenly got yourself hardened clay. That can be used to apply different colours on and all of a sudden you got yourself lots more variety in your building blocks.

      The mechanics heavily reminds me of Command & Conquer; it wasn't only the RTS approach which appealed to me with that game; I loved the building mechanics and all the different "tech trees".

      Another thing which I personally like about Minecraft is that it can probably go much deeper than you may give it credit for. Lets talk digital circuitry: building AND, NAND or XNOR logical gates? Doable. In fact; you can set up a whole "digital / analog" circuitry to automated and/or control all sorts of things in the game. That can be quite appealing as well...

      Most of all, to me, is that I'm always in control over the way I play the game. I can simply play the (Survival) game (with or without cheats) or I can opt to use "Creative mode" which gives me access to all the blocks in the game right from the start. That's used to get creative; build stuff without having to worry about gaining resources and overcoming restrictions.

      Minecraft can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. And that even applies to its looks. Don't like the standard "8-bit like" blocky design? Simple! Install a different (hi-res) texture pack and off you go!

      SO yeah; the main appeal is its diversity IMO, hope I managed to give you a little impression of that.

    3. Spleen

      It's not just the Lego aspect. There are two sides of the game which don't get enough credit: the aesthetics and the game mechanics.

      By aesthetics I mean the combination of the graphics and the random terrain generator. They create some beautiful landscapes which are a pleasure to build on. In my first go at Minecraft I built a "house" out of an above-ground cave I converted, filled in and added doors to. Dug out the ugly dirt bits, replaced them with stone bricks and lit the place with recessed torches. Hollowed out the top of the mountain, added some large windows and watched the sun set over the trees. Pure joy. It's not just about what you build but how it fits into the world. (Which is why those giant pixel-art creations are very impressive but IMO miss the point a bit.)

      Secondly, the game mechanics, the balance between effort and reward. The start of the game where you punch trees until they break is the butt of many jokes. But once you've got wood you can mine stone, once you've got stone you can mine coal and make torches, once you've got torches (and some weapons to defend yourself from the monsters) you can go underground and find some iron, and on and on it goes. It's a classic progression, like the Civilisation tech tree or the RPG get-bigger-sword-to-bash-bigger-monster routine.

      The creative aspect gives you the incentive to progress through it. If I want my house to have iron railings I need to go underground and get some iron. If I want to set up something electrical I need to go further down and get some redstone. If I'm bored of torches for lighting, I need to create a portal and go to the Nether to find some glowstone. And so on.

      Although most of the praise for Minecraft goes to the Lego-building aspect, there have been games that allowed you to build stuff out of blocks before (e.g. Infiniminer). Minecraft is a work of genius because of the way it marries that with beautiful aesthetics and balanced, rewarding gameplay.

      1. dogged
        Coat

        > once you've got wood you can mine stone

        *snorf*

        Sorry.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @dogged

          Only got veg. Can I minestrone?

      2. John Sanders
        Unhappy

        Minecraft for me was

        Lots of fun playing with my children, the suspense of exploring caves, building castles, cottages, roller-coasters and strongholds, mining for diamonds, etc.

        Minecraft was the cool toy I played with my children, a toy that will be forever ruined as soon as MS gets their paws on it.

        It has a charming simplicity to it (from the graphics to the gameplay) that it is hard to explain if you haven't played it.

        I have to admit that when I first heard about it I didn't saw the point either.

  13. Sebastian A

    Until proven otherwise

    I'll take Minecraft v1.8 to be the final version, much like there was no Indiana Jones movie after The Last Crusade.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, how soon before Minecraft gets the Metro (tile) interface and play mode?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm old, I can't see the point in Minecraft

    $2.5 billion though?

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      Re: I'm old, I can't see the point in Minecraft

      Kids love it and it has cross gender appeal. My 13 year old daughter and her friends spend hours on it.

      As an entry point to get a new generation hooked on Microsoft opium, it's perfect provided MS don't screw it up.

      1. John Sanders
        Unhappy

        Re: I'm old, I can't see the point in Minecraft

        Correction MS will screw it, in hideous and hateful ways. Like they always do.

        Take Skype, first thing they did: Cancel the Asterisk plugin.

        What would they do with Minecraft?

        Kill Java, Kill the Linux version.

  16. Skyraker

    2.5bn

    Fuck me sideways.... The inmates are truly running the asylum.

  17. imanidiot Silver badge
    Coat

    Well fiddlesticks...

    *Grabs coat and walks away*

  18. Semaj

    "In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time"

    ... but in a real sense, it belongs to Microsoft now, who will fuck it up.

  19. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Alert

    Year Of Code

    I am sure there is some link between school kids being so enamoured with Minecraft and it being Year of Code. After all, we all know that programming is simply 'moving the blocks around until the program does what it's meant to' :-)

    It could be quite the gravy train if schools were forced to have it via the curriculum. Especially at a time when schools are moving away from the traditional desktop PC to iThings and tablets. A little bit of lock-in goes a long way.

  20. Lamont Cranston

    I've not played Minecraft, so don't know what made it so good,

    but if the creator is off with his big pile of cash, I doubt it'll stay good for much longer.

  21. DropBear Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Reminds me...

    ...of the bloke who just constructed a functional 1 kilobyte hard drive in Minecraft. Well, technically, it's more like a ZX Microdrive loaded with punched tape, but I'm sure you get the idea...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possibly nothing to do with Minecraft, but a need to avoid a tax liability?

    If Notch is not USA based, and I understand he isn't, then he may be selling Microsoft a tax avoidance scheme from profits in non-US territories.

    If they had to repatriate the profits to the USA, they'd have to pay tax on it.

    Now they have avoided the tax liability, and have a huge IP instead in their portfolio that hasn't been snaffled by the likes of EA, Atari, etc.

    Now if they could also invest in the modding community too, all would be well.

  23. Simon Ward

    "It's not about the money"

    Yeah, right.

    I'll give it three months before he's doing a Monty Widenius and moaning endlessly about the people he sold out to fucking everything up.

    Minecraft fanbois downvote away - I, personally, never saw the attraction (I prefer Dwarf Fortress anyway)

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: "It's not about the money"

      I believe it's not about the money. Notch has always struck me as one of those geeks who codes for the love of coding. I'm sure anyone who's been coding for any length of time is familiar with the point where a fun project ceases to be a fun coding project and instead becomes a user support nightmare. I'm certainly intimately familiar with that point. Unlike most of us though Notch has the option to sell off his fun-to-code-game-turned-support-nightmare to someone else and not ever have to worry about it again. The fact that he's making a mountain of money off of it in the process is just a happy side effect of unloading what has become a constant source of stress.

      Think about it from his perspective for a minute. Imagine that you have a hobby that you've managed to turn into a career. You make a fun project every now and then and have enough money coming in from it to pay your bills. Now imagine that one of those 'fun projects' is suddenly extremely popular all over the world and supporting it demands all your time. How long would it stay fun?

      Also, as another piece of evidence, think of how much money he could have made with that Facebook deal he turned down. The man's not a fool. He knows how much money there is to be made in the Facebook games market and how easily he could have tapped it with Minecraft. Clearly walking away from that deal isn't the action of someone who's in it for the money.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. sisk Silver badge

    MS huh?

    I predict that Minetest is about to get a boost. It may be a pale imitation of Minecraft, but MS is hated enough that a not-totally-insignificant percentage of the player base may just suck it up and switch.

    Me I'll stick with Minecraft. Minetest is just different enough that it drives me batty and the mods that add mobs to it (and therefore give some challenge to the game) are in serious need of some polish. I'm probably not ever updating again though.

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