Microsoft is in advanced talks to acquire the maker of the game Minecraft for more than $2 billion from its owners a privately-held Swedish company, the New York Times reports today.
The paper, quoting people briefed on the discussions , said the move was intended to ensure that one of the most popular games was available for Microsoft’s ’s family of devices.
It’s not a done deal yet. “The sides still need to work out many details, and a deal could fall through,” according to one of the NYT informants.
Minecraft has defied many of the conventions of the modern games business to become a blockbuster success, said the NYT.
“Minecraft’s blocky graphics are crude by today’s standards, looking like virtual Lego bricks,” the report said,
“ But unlike many of the start-ups purchased by big technology companies for billions of dollars, Minecraft is already a lucrative business.”
This year, Mojang, the Swedish company that makes Minecraft, told The Wall Street Journal that its revenue was about $360 million last year, up 38 percent from the year before.
The Journal reported the discussions with Microsoft earlier on Tuesday. Mojang was co-founded by Markus Persson, a 35-year-old programmer and game designer better known in the gaming world by his gamer name, Notch.
Persson has said in the past that he did not want to sell the company or take money from outside investors.
Mojang sells Minecraft the old-fashioned way — by charging people to buy a copy, said the NYT.
The price varies – ranging from $7 to play the game on mobile phones to $27 for computer versions. A version of Minecraft for Microsoft’s Xbox, a top seller for the console, costs $20.