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Mojang reassures Minecraft fans about Microsoft deal

Xbox version of Minecraft Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang has led Minecraft fans to wonder what will happen to the game

The boss of Minecraft-maker Mojang has reassured fans worried about what will happen when Microsoft takes over.

A $2.5bn (£1.5bn) deal that will see Microsoft acquire Mojang was announced in mid-September.

But Vu Bui, chief operating officer of Mojang, said there were no plans in the offing to change the game or what people can do with it.

Feedback from players would still be crucial in helping to develop the game, he said.

"Nothing's really changing," said Mr Bui. " We have no plans on anything changing and, of course, I can't talk about the deal and I don't know everything but we're still here, the game's still here and it's business as usual."

Open view

Mojang had always sought to preserve the original impetus that helped to make the game so popular, he said.

"Maintaining that original culture is really difficult," he said. "It's a culture which respects the community and allows that community to do what they want with the game and make it theirs.

"It is absolutely our intention, as it always has been, to continue with that," he told the BBC in an interview at London's Olympia exhibition centre where he was giving a keynote speech at the Brand Licensing Europe trade show.

Mr Bui acknowledged that the deal was "still in the works" but said Mojang's intention was to keep working closely with its huge community of players.

Many fans of the block-building game have expressed fears about what will happen once Microsoft is in ultimate control.

Minecraft inventor Markus Persson, aka Notch, has written about his reasons for approaching Microsoft and said he was handing it over as it had become a burden for him to run.

"I can't be responsible for something this big," he wrote soon after details of the deal were announced.

"It's not about the money," he added. "It's about my sanity."

Mr Bui said there would undoubtedly be some changes in the future, but these would still be done with the input, comments and feedback of fans.

The current system, in which Minecraft developers share what they are working on long before it is added to the game, would continue.

"We don't keep features secret," he said.

This openness would also operate as Mojang started to show off the new titles developers were working on, even though the studio was not yet ready to talk specifics, he said.

When they were ready, said Mr Bui, Mojang would let players try early versions of a game and help the title's creators refine it and help it become a commercial property.

A similar approach was used with Minecraft, and Mojang wanted to repeat the process because it was proven to help developers as they worked on a project.

It was not about trying to replicate what happened with Minecraft to make another title that proved just as popular. It was more about faith in the overall approach, said Mr Bui.

"We believe in that model," he said. "Regardless of your art form people should definitely put their energy into what they believe in, regardless of whether it will be successful.

"That's a noble effort," he added.

In the same way, he said, Mojang believed that it was a mistake for anyone to try to manage or manipulate the Minecraft community and dictate what can and cannot be done with the game.

Far better, he said, was to just get out of the way.

"People are at their most creative sometimes when you just let them do what they want," said Mr Bui. "You have to give them guidelines, but for the most part if you let people be creative they will come up with cooler stuff than we ever could ourselves."

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