This year has been a great one for insanely big acquisitions: Amazon buys Twitch for close to $1 billion,  Google buys Nest for $3.2 billion, Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion. The tech giants are on a roll!

After the initial rumors about Microsoft’s thoughts to acquire Minecraft maker Mojang the company has confirmed that the acquisition is now official. Microsoft spent $2.5 BILLION to acquire the game maker.

Why Microsoft spent $2.5 billion on one game

Some of you might wonder, why did a company like Microsoft spend so much money on a game development studio that has produced just one successful game? Well, read on…

Money making machine

For those of you who don’t know, Minecraft is probably one of the most popular games out there. According to a recent report, Mojang sold close to 54 million copies of its game as of June 2014. However, the Minecraft makers state on their website that it sold “only” 16.7 million copies of the Minecraft version for desktop, meaning that close to 37.3 million people play the game on a mobile device. It has been the top grossing mobile game both in the Google Play store as well as Apple’s App Store for quite some time. Ironically for Microsoft, there is no Windows Phone version of Minecraft.

Community & merchandise

However, Minecraft is more than just a game. Millions of players have formed a passionate community around the game itself. And if there’s a community there’s merchandise. You can buy Minecraft toys (even LEGO), t-shirts, gear, prints and Minecraft-inspired furniture!

Contrary to popular belief, Minecraft isn’t only played by kids from 7 to 12. Although there isn’t an official number, a recent poll shows that a significant amount of Minecraft players is aged between 11 and 46. Minecraft is a truly cross-generation game.

A bump for Xbox

Another important reason for Microsoft to acquire Minecraft is to give the company’s Xbox division a second chance. After Sony crushed the Xbox One sales numbers with its release of the PlayStation 4, Microsoft is in urgent need for a bump in sales for its own gaming console. On a side note, a Minecraft for Xbox One has been released just 10 days prior to the acquisition.

A new generation of Microsoft customers

Seen as a conservative brand, Microsoft has made a right step towards appealing to a younger audience by buying a game development studio. Although the average casual gamer is older than one might assume, it’s the new generation Microsoft is hoping to reach and lure the younger demographic into the Microsoft ecosystem, away from iPhones & Macs to Windows Phones & Windows desktops.

Conclusion

Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft makers Mojang is a long shot for the company. The software giant paid a large amount of money to get closer to a huge and passionate community of gamers across generations. If you think $2.5 billion is too much for this sort of deal, remember that Minecraft is more than just a game.

We will keep you posted on the latest news regarding the Minecraft deal as new information surfaces.