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The deal would reportedly value the company at $2 billion and would be the first major acquisition by new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Though played by people of all ages, Minecraft has a particularly strong following among teens and pre-teens and may allow the aging software giant to gain a foothold with a new generation of gamers and computer users.
Surprised but very impressed if Microsoft pulls off buying Minecraft. That is computing for many 8-12 year olds and more
— Josh Elman (@joshelman) September 10, 2014
First released in 2009 and available on multiple gaming platforms, Minecraft is most known for its open-ended style of game play. There is no specific goal or end to the game. Players build intricate buildings, landscapes, worlds and battle various mixes of attackers such as creepers, zombies and endermen. In addition to the game itself, Minecraft has also spawned a complex ecosystem of hacked versions - "mods", youtube-based Minecraft shows and widely attended Minecraft conventions. The Stockholm-based Mojang reportedly made $100 million in profit last year through sales of the game and associated merchandize.
Unlike many other video game makers, Mojang has a game development staff of fewer than fifty people and focuses almost exclusively on a single game, Minecraft.
The expected sale comes as some surprise since Mojang's enigmatic founder, Markus Persson (aka "notch") has resisted outside investment in the past. According to Bloomberg, Persson will stay with the company through the expected transition but likely depart soon after.