Microsoft has officially confirmed making one of the most anticipated deals in the tech world: The company is buying the developer of Minecraft, the hugely popular video game.
The deal for Mojang, the Stockholm-based creator of Minecraft, will be bigger than anticipated in reports last week—$2.5 billion, Microsoft officials said today. The deal is an enormous addition for the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant’s lineup of gaming products. And it could prove to be a major shake-up for the gaming industry, and for how games connect with the K-12 community, overall.
As we reported last week, when discussing the potential implications of the rumored deal, Minecraft has become popular in the K-12 arena among teachers who use it to supplement lessons in the hope of building problem-solving and other skills in students. Mojang had created MinecraftEdu, what it describes as a “school-ready remix” designed to support the game’s use in schools, a support system the company says was created by teachers.
[Update: As one commenter correctly points out, the agreement is not yet final, and is expected to close in late 2014, as Microsoft says in its release.]
Minecraft takes players inside an imaginary world in which they build things with blocks—from modestly sized objects to enormous and ambitious projects—for protection, exploration, to challenge others, or just for the fun of it.
In a statement, an executive who works on gaming for Microsoft pledged that the American company will “nuture and grow” Minecraft and maintain the core features that its users love.
The tech corporation has a big place in U.S. schools as a seller of operating systems and devices. In addition to emphaisizing Minecraft’s popularity—it has 100 million downloads on personal computers since 2009—Microsoft officials also emphasized the loyalty of the game’s users, and suggested that both sides would benefit from the other’s reach.
“Minecraft is more than a great game franchise,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “it is an open world platform” and the deal will bring “new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”
Microsoft officials said they will make Minecraft available across all of its systems available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.
“The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of Minecraft,” said Carl Manneh, Mojang’s CEO, in a statement. “As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.”