The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Microsoft may be eyeing an acquisition of Mojang, the Swedish creators of Minecraft, in a deal valued around $2 billion that might go down as soon as this week.
The Wall Street Journal hasn’t built a name out of throwing unsubstantiated rumors around, but the news still sounds surprising. Despite Mojang’s success they’ve stayed close to their indie roots and have left plenty of money on the table for the sake of building the game they’ve wanted to build, while still throwing around an anti-corporate attitude. In Markus “Notch” Persson’s latest blogpost on his blog, dated June 14th, he writes:
Mojang does not exist to make as much money as possible for the owners. As the majority shareholder, I’d know. Every time a big money making deal comes up that would make a lot of money, it’s of course very tempting, but at the end of the day we choose to do what either makes the most sense for our products, or the things that seem like fun for us at Mojang.
Additionally Persson hasn’t necessarily sounded like a fan of Microsoft’s platform strategy these days, as seen by this tweet.
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.
— Markus Persson (@notch) September 27, 2012
According to Minecraft’s stats page, the game sold 8,024 copies of the PC/Mac version in the last 24 hours, which is a daily revenue of €160,078 without even counting their iOS, Xbox or PS2 sales, or licensed products. For a company of 22 employees listed and zero need for marketing spending, they’re certainly not hurting for cash.
Despite that, an upfront $2 billion deal for a company undiluted by any VC financing would make any company think. Does this deal pass the smell test?