Yesterday's all-but-unbelievable rumor is today's "looking like it might actually be so," as reports that Minecraft studio Mojang is on the verge of being acquired by Microsoft continue to surface. Even more interesting, the word on the street is that the idea of the buyout came not from Microsoft, but from Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson himself.
Bloomberg has now joined the Wall Street Journal in reporting that Microsoft is in negotiations to buy Mojang. It says that "three people with knowledge of the talks" have confirmed that the negotiations are underway, and that as previously reported, the deal will ultimately be worth more than $2 billion.
The reports were initially so hard to believe largely because it seemed so unlikely that Notch, who shut down development of the Oculus Rift version of Minecraft when Facebook acquired Oculus VR, would ever surrender his company to a massive corporate entity like Microsoft. But according to the report, not only did he agree to it, it was actually his idea in the first place; he "reached out to Microsoft a few months ago, based on a positive working relationship on Minecraft for Xbox," it says, and the two companies have been hammering out the details ever since. If and when the deal goes through, it's expected that Notch will assist with the transition but won't stay with the company beyond that.
As for why Microsoft would drop $2 billion on a game that's been around for a half-decade and is already out on just about every platform known to mankind, the belief is apparently that Microsoft can continue to grow the player base, and thus its revenues, by exploiting its "position in videogames and computers," and through increased licenses in toys and movies.