It has been two years and ten days since Microsoft acquired popular title, Minecraft for over a Billion. According to this post from Yahoo, apparently Microsoft had the opportunity to acquire the franchise even before 2014 when Don Mattrick was still the lead of Xbox.
“Early in Microsoft’s relationship with Mojang, before I was CEO, Phil presented an opportunity to purchase Minecraft, but Phil’s boss at the time chose not to move forward,” writes Nadella.
If the deal had worked out, Microsoft could have bought Minecraft earlier on in its meteoric rise to popularity, perhaps for a cheaper price than the $2.5 billion it ultimately paid. It’s also worth to note that in a 2013 appearance on late night television, Persson publicly claimed he had no interest in selling Mojang or Minecraft. It’s possible, however, that Markus Persson claims came after any talks with Microsoft had already fallen apart.
They also had an offer for the game, but the offer was too low to accept.
“I’m probably the wrong person to ask about specifics, but I do remember us getting a ridiculously low offer from some company at some point fairly early on. We said no.”
“Just to be clear,” Persson added, “we weren’t actively looking to sell, but would with some frequency get asked. It wasn’t until my tweet we decided to pursue it.”
Minecraft was first released into beta at the end of 2010. Microsoft and Mojang teamed up in the Spring of 2011 to announce an Xbox 360 version, which launched in 2012. This would be early in Microsoft’s relationship with Mojang. At the time of the start of the relationship between Mojang and Microsoft was when Phil Spencer’s boss at the time, Don Mattrick who left the company in mid-2013 to accept a role as CEO of social games company Zynga and up until the middle of 2014 there wasn’t a formal leader of Xbox.
Nadella praises Spencer’s pursuit of the Mojang deal: “For some, such a visible, high-level rejection could have been withering, but Phil didn’t give up.”
What do you think Xbox would be like if the acquisition never happened?