Menu
Entertainment

Minecraft in talks to 'sell out' to Microsoft for $2b

HE'S the gaming world's most successful outsider, who attacked Microsoft for threatening his fiercely protected independence.

Now Markus Persson, creator of the hugely popular Minecraft game, has been accused of selling out after agreeing a deal with the software giant which would make him a billionaire at 35.

Minecraft, the virtual building game which uses Lego-style blocks, has become a phenomenon - with 54 million sales across all platforms - since Mr Persson began coding it in 2009 in his spare time.

The Swede, who initially sold the game only through his own website, had previously cancelled a deal with "creepy" Facebook and lambasted other technology titans for seeking to undermine the independence of gaming developers.

And two years ago Mr Persson said Microsoft's Windows 8 operating software was a threat to the gaming ecosystem.

"Got an email from Microsoft, wanting to help 'certify' Minecraft for win 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform," he tweeted.

"I'd rather have Minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to win 8 that way."

After turning down previous approaches from Electronic Arts and Microsoft, Mr Persson has surprised the gaming world by starting fresh discussions to sell his Swedish company, Mojang, to the computer giant for an estimated $2bn.

Mr Persson's change of heart is believed to have been inspired by a positive working relationship he forged with Microsoft when Minecraft, which places gamers in a monster-infected pixellated landscape, came to the Xbox games console.

The developer, who is known to gamers as "Notch" and who spent periods unemployed before discovering his coding skills, quickly agreed a price with Microsoft and could quit the company once a deal is concluded, sources close to the negotiations said.

Microsoft believes it can boost sales of Minecraft - and of Xbox - by creating new editions of the game and setting up a film and merchandising franchise. However, Mr Persson's willingness to sell has troubled Minecraft's loyal audience.

"How those indie values sell out in the face of cash," tweeted Cathy-Anne O'Brien, CEO of a Toronto PR firm.

"Hope you don't sell out all the fans. Microsoft will be the end of MC," tweeted another gamer.

Justin Davis, editor of the computer games website IGN.com, warned: "The PS4 and PS3 (and maybe even iOS and Android) versions of Minecraft would either be removed, or would no longer receive updates.

"To play Minecraft, you [will] have to do so on Windows or Xbox. This isn't an unreasonable thought for a Microsoft exec that just spent billions."

Microsoft could "crack down on individuals making and promoting other real-world brands within their game" and assimilate Minecraft into its own development team after the departure of Mr Persson and his co-founders, Mr Davis added.

Microsoft sources claim the company will keep the game available for the PlayStation and rival products and that the iOS versions are unlikely to be threatened.

Mr Persson appears to have been won over to the corporate world by Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, who flew to Stockholm to have dinners with him.

Topics:  editors picks microsoft minecraft



Ferry return to service delayed

No Caption

Service will not resume as expected

This weekend's Northern Rivers markets list

TRADITIONAL: The Lismore Carboot Market has been operating for three decades.

Where to get fresh coffee and great local produce from

Local Partners

Audience member shocked penis puppeteer

IT TAKES a lot to shock Rich Binning who appears nude on stage in Puppetry of the Penis, but this audience member left the performer flabbergasted.

What’s the greatest 1980s movie ever?

That lift, featuring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, back when she had a normal nose.

From Dirty Dancing and Crocodile Dundee to Die Hard

Jennifer Lawrence flaunts her nudity on set

Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the premiere of "Red Sparrow" at the Newseum on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Washington. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP)Source:AP

Jennifer Lawrence so comfortable on Red Sparrow set, she went naked

Bardot’s biggest secrets finally revealed

L-R: Belinda Chapple, Tiffany Wood, Sally Polihronas, Sophie Monk and Katie Underwood made up Bardot.

Popstars girl group Bardot’s biggest secrets finally revealed

How three Aussie movie-makers lured Helen Mirren

Jason Clarke and Helen Mirren in a scene from the movie Winchester. Supplied by Studiocanal.

It took a lot of work for three Aussies to lure the Oscar winner

Roxy Jacenko: ‘I came over all hot’

Roxy Jacenko and Oliver Curtis have talked about their sex life since his prison release last year. Picture: Aaron Francis.

The pair gave revealing interview about their lives since his release

How to throw a star-studded party

He’s on the list! Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs pictured at Nana Judy’s party at Coachella. Picture: Facebook

How to throw a star-studded party, according to Nana Judy