2014 was a huge year for Minecraft for one major reason. That was the year Microsoft acquired Mojang.
The technology giant is infamous for its aggressive and notable acquisitions, such as Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax in 2020. The acquisition was valued at just over eight billion dollars. Microsoft then purchased Activision Blizzard in January 2022 for just shy of $69 billion, the largest acquisition in the gaming industry.
But 2014 was a different time. Such massive buyouts were rare. This is why players were surprised when Microsoft confirmed rumors of acquiring Mojang. Once the speculation became a reality, Minecraft became Microsoft IP.
Microsoft made a landmark purchase with Minecraft
Microsoft bought Mojang for a staggering $2.5 billion. This amount is also incredible when you consider that most acquired studios have made numerous huge franchises. Mojang, at the time of the acquisition, had only released Minecraft.
While this may seem like a paltry amount compared to the $70 billion (Activision), the purchase of Mojang remains the eighth most expensive buy in the industry. This acquisition is one of two from that time ranking in the all-time top 10 most expensive. The other was Facebook's purchase of Oculus.
When Microsoft’s buyout of Mojang was announced, the community reaction was adverse. There was a sense that Microsoft would ruin the game, either through microtransactions or just forcing updates in a bad and unwanted direction. Industry experts speculated that Microsoft's financial backing could boost the game to greater heights.
Unification of versions
The most significant upside to the buyout was Microsoft's push of the Bedrock edition forward to unify different game versions. Before the unification, there were PC, mobile, console, and 3DS versions of the game. The game has effectively been rewritten in a different coding language and unified across all platforms, the Bedrock Edition.
There was concern among those still playing Java Edition that Microsoft would slowly abandon their version in favor of a new and unified one. So far, that concern has proven to be false, as both versions of the game have been consistently updated and have received all new content added to the game, though each with unique quirks due to how they were coded.
Unification was the best thing to have happened to the game. The cross-platform multiplayer has increased the player base while maintaining the game’s core. While microtransactions have made their way to the Bedrock Edition, it was done in the least intrusive method, so most people haven’t complained.