Microsoft In Talks To Buy Minecraft Firm

Microsoft’s commitment to its Xbox business continues with the news it is in talks to acquire one of the most popular games among the youth market.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited a person with knowledge of the matter, Redmond is in “serious discussions” to buy Mojang AB, the Swedish company behind the Minecraft.

Xbox Move

The report comes as Microsoft drops the UK retail price of its latest Xbox gaming console in order to take the console fight to Sony’s PS4. And that price cut is not the only sign that Microsoft is serious about its Xbox business. According to the WSJ, Microsoft could pay as much as $2bn (£1.2bn) for the Swedish firm.

The deal could be signed as early as next week apparently.

Interestingly, the Minecraft game made its Xbox One debut last week (it is still in development for the PS4). Of course, the game is available on both previous consoles (Xbox 306 and PS3), as well as PCs, tablets, and smartphones. It is not however available on Windows Phones, and the deal could be about as much about bolstering Microsoft’s Xbox business, as well as widening the appeal of its Windows Phone smartphones to a younger market.

Both Microsoft and Mojang have declined to comment of the report.

Minecraft has proved to be very popular among the younger gaming community, despite its heavily pixilated graphics, which are a far cry from modern games. Essentially, players build block like structures for protection against monsters.

The deal is also interesting because the founder of Mojang, 35-year-old Markus Persson, has not exactly been a fan of big corporations in the past. He apparently axed a project to bring a version of the game to the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in protest at that firm’s acquisition by Facebook.

And in 2012 he tweeted that Microsoft should “stop trying to ruin the PC” after its Windows 8 launch.

Company Transformation

Microsoft itself is undergoing a period of transformation. It recently acquired the Nokia mobile handset business and, in July, CEO Satya Nadella began a major shakeup of the organisation.

This included axing up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its 127,100 strong workforce.

Nadella was widely thought to be ambivalent to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming business, as he was perceived to be more focused on Microsoft’s cloud, software and devices offerings.

However, some believe that Nadella now views video games as a potential way for the company to expand its PC portfolio, as well as offering a valuable driver to expand its mobile phone foothold.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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