Microsoft, Mojang, and Minecraft

Wow. I never thought I would have to write something with a headline like that, but being an avid Minecraft player for quite a few years, yesterday's news regarding Microsoft's purchase of Mojang (and of course the future of Minecraft) made me sad.

I do understand Notch's plea for peace but with my insights in how mergers and acquisitions usually works out, I feel that this may be the beginning of the end of the Minecraft and Mojang community as we know and love it. It is very, very rare for the company being bought, or "merged" into another to be able to maintain the culture it had that made it a great place to be at.

While it's the ugly truth that many mergers happen because of poor management or money simply running out, that does not seem to be the case here. Most people having been through the experience knows that it takes a great deal of care and understanding from the buyer, something that is rarely present. I have been through a couple of mergers myself, where the buying part simply looked at the ways of working and culture, said "Interesting, [but we do not care or have the skill to try to understand], here, apply our processes and standards and be happy about it". Productivity and innovation drops. Key people leave. Everyone is dumbfounded.

Also, Mojang and their way of being agile about their entire business model has been a great story to tell whenever I speak on the topic. We will se where it goes from here.

I sincerely hope when looking back at this blog post in a year or two that it by then seems so ridiculous and wrong that I'm put to shame, and that Mojang has been allowed to thrive and keep doing what they do best. By then, we will know.

Godspeed, Notch.