Microsoft is in talks to buy Minecraft studio Mojang AB for $2bn according to a source close to the discussion.
The deal was initially reported by the Wall Street Journal
and it could close as early as this week. Mojang and Microsoft themselves have so far declined to comment.
Mojang definitely presents itself as a tempting investment and reportedly earned more than $100m in profits last year through a mixture of game sales and merchandising, which the company has seen increasing success with.
Mojang has remained a small company since the overwhelming success of Minecraft with only around 40 people responsible for the huge annual profits. The studio has also deliberately kept a tight focus on the games it produces and aside from the occassional game jam project, the only other major title that it is currently working on is tactical RPG Scrolls.
Minecraft itself has sold more than 50 million copies across multiple platforms with the two most recent versions being launched for the Xbox One and Playstation 4.
News of the deal is surprising from both sides of the table. Mojang studio head and creator of Minecraft Markus ‘Notch’ Persson has a strongly established independent leaning and has in the past railed against Microsoft itself for its work on making Windows 8 a closed platform.
Equally, on the other side of the negotiation table, Microsoft’s new chief executive Satya Nadella has been driving an initiative to refocus Microsoft on its core business and has so far been suggesting that the Xbox division is not part of that, making a $2bn video game studio acquisition surprising.