The $2.5 billion deal that saw Minecraft change hands from creator Markus “Notch” Persson to Microsoft all started with a tweet, reports Forbes.
“Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life?” Persson tweeted in June of last year. “Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig.”
Mojang CEO Carl Manneh read the tweet, and, by his estimation, the phone rang just 30 seconds later. A most interested party was on the line: Microsoft. The console holder and software giant wanted to know if Persson was serious. So did Manneh.
As it turned out, the Minecraft mastermind had written the tweet half-jokingly, but things quickly turned serious when Persson realized this was his chance to divorce himself from Minecraft. He had once sworn he would never sell out, but after years of dealing with caustic communications — sometimes in regards to content changes Persson wasn’t even aware of, let alone responsible for — Persson had a change of heart.
All the big names repeatedly called Manneh in the ensuing weeks: Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, EA, etc. But Persson said he had to turn most suitors away because they “did game play in a way we didn’t like.”
He apparently had no issues with Microsoft’s approach to gameplay. Redmond wanted to make the purchase because it had $93 billion in overseas cash, and it was money the company preferred not to allow the American government to collect taxes on. So it decided to spend a couple of those billion dollars plus change on Minecraft.
Persson explained that he has no regrets over the sale, even if he did contradict himself in agreeing to it. “You have to be responsible for what you said, of course,” he says, “but I don’t really feel a lot of shame for saying something that I’ve changed my mind about.”