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After Selling Out to Microsoft, Minecraft and Its Founder Write the World's Best Press Releases

Here's how you tell your fans you sold out.

Microsoft

No surprise that Microsoft just bought Mojang, the company behind the hit game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. We told you about that last week.

The shock is that the tiny team at Mojang — which has fewer than 30 workers — employs someone with the ability to write the world’s best hey-we-just-sold-out letter, directed at the game’s many passionate fans — the ones who will determine whether Microsoft got a bargain or bubble-inflated dud.*

If you’re ever in a position to announce that you’ve sold your company for $2.5 billion, or any sum, you should be taking notes.

Here’s a free head start:

Say what you know. After announcing the deal, Mojang makes no attempt to downplay how wrenching it may be for the company and its fan base:

Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. … We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.

Say what you don’t know. Mojang would like to tell all the people who play the game on platforms other than Microsoft’s that nothing will change, but they can’t make that promise. So they offer this instead:

There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.

Be real. Similarly, they acknowledge that the nearly open platform they operate might change, too.

We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.

Humor helps: When’s the last time you saw a FAQ end like this?

How much money was the company bought for?

Microsoft acquired Mojang for a smooth 2.5 BILLION dollars.

While we’re handing out writing awards, extra credit goes to Minecraft investor Markus Persson, who isn’t sticking around after the deal, and has written a candid explanation.

The short version: He’s not interested in pretending to be a businessman. And yes, he says, he’s the same guy who used to publicly taunt Microsoft.

Here is the text equivalent of an emotional, ambivalent shrug: “I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.”

* I think Microsoft got a hands-down bargain, by the way. Yes, this is a popular game, and like many other things, popular games can become less popular. But this isn’t an Angry Birds or a Candy Crush or some other mobile equivalent of snack food — this is an immersive ecosystem that can get more interesting over time, because of the players who are building it out each day. And in the worst case scenario, where Microsoft really has bought a declining asset, it is still going to have a profitable business on its hands. The company estimates it will break even on the purchase next year.

Here’s the entire Mojang note:

Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft
by Owen on September 15, 2014
Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft.

It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3

Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that.

We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.

Why did you sell Minecraft?
Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we’re massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch’s intention for it to get this big.

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.

There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.

Minecraft means many different things to millions of people across the world, and to each and every Mojangsta. We feel that this is the best way for everyone – you guys included – to benefit.

What about the other editions of Minecraft? Will they stop being developed?
There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future.

We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together.

Is the game going to change? Will we still be able to make videos, mods, awesome builds, and all the cool stuff we’ve created over the past few years?
Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development. We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.

What about the Mojang staff? What’s happening to you guys?
Though it’s too early to confirm which of us will continue working on Minecraft or other projects, we predict that the vast majority (if not all) Mojangstas will continue to work at Mojang for the time being.

The founders: Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving. We don’t know what they’re planning. It won’t be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool.

What’s happening to the other Mojang projects, like Scrolls?
We don’t know yet. We’ll share any news as soon as we do.

Will you still be able to tweet about features and interact with the community on a personal level, just like you’ve done over the years?
Yes! That’s not going to change.

How much money was the company bought for?
Microsoft acquired Mojang for a smooth 2.5 BILLION dollars.

Thanks for reading everybody.

Owen – @bopogamel, Lydia – @lydiawinters, and the Mojangstas.

And here’s Persson’s note:

I’m leaving Mojang
September 15th, 2014
I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.

I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.

I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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