Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker for $2.5 Billion

Mojang, the small Swedish firm behind the wildly popular video game Minecraft, is being acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. The sale is set to be closed late this year, with the acquisition expected to be break-even in fiscal year 2015.

One of Mojang's founders, Markus Persson -- known as "Notch" -- said in a post on his personal blog on Monday that he would be leaving the company "as soon as this deal is finalized." Noting that he had decided to step away from Minecraft development "a relatively long time ago," he said he plans to "go back to doing Ludum Dares (game-making competitions) and small web experiments."

Microsoft said its "investments in cloud and mobile technologies will enable 'Minecraft' players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the 'Minecraft' community." It added that it would continue to make the game available on all the current platforms, which include PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.

100-Million-Plus Downloads

Launched in 2009, Minecraft has gone on to become one of the most popular video games ever, with more than 100 million downloads of the PC version alone. The game, which allows users to create worlds made out of blocks of various materials, has also been widely used for education.

In 2012, Mojang began working with UN-Habitat to use the game to encourage young people around the world to redesign the neighborhoods in which they live. The first pilot for the "Block by Block" sustainable development project is under way in Kibera, an informal settlement area in Nairobi.

Mojang has worked with Microsoft since 2012, when the Xbox 360 version of the game was released. Since then, Minecraft players on Xbox 360 have logged more than 2 billion hours of play time. Microsoft's purchase...

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