Mojang Studios (previously Mojang Specifications and Mojang AB) is a Swedish video game developer and a subsidiary of Xbox Game Studios. They are best known for creating and developing the game Minecraft and its multiple iterations and spin-offs.
2007 - 2010: Origins and Formation
The company was first founded by Swedish programmer Markus Persson (better known by his online username Notch), originally under the name Mojang Specifications to publish Notch's first title, Wurm Online. When the game started to turn a profit, the company incorporated itself to Mojang Specifications AB (stands for "Aktiebolag", Swedish for "limited company" or "corporation") in 2007. Later in the year, Notch left the company to join mobile game developer Midas (later King.com) but wanted to use the name in the future. His colleague Rolf Jansson took over the company and renamed it to Onetoofree AB and later Code Club AB.
In 2009, after leaving Midas, Notch began work on a clone of sandbox and crafting open world game named Infiniminer in his spare time. The project ended up becoming the first alpha build of what would be now known as Minecraft debuting on May 17, with the first commercial build being made available the following June 13. In less than a month, the game generated enough profits that eventually allowed Persson to quit his day job in 2010 and focus on the game full-time. Later in the year on September, Notch contacted former Midas colleague Jakob Porsér to aid him in establishing a new company. Porsér quit his job the next day and formed the current Mojang AB with Notch. Soon after the founding, the company hired Carl Manneh as CEO, Daniel Kaplan as business developer, Markus Toivonen as art director, and Jens Bergenstein as lead programmer, among others, to continue work on Minecraft as well as other projects including a card game titled Scrolls.
2011 - 2013: Expansion and Minecraft release
By January 2011, Minecraft reached one million registered users; its rapid success allowed Mojang to expand its development with mobile and console versions. In the following August, Mojang began publishing titles from other independent development studios, starting with Oxeye Game Studios' Cobalt, which eventually released on February 2016. In the following November, to commemorate the full release of Minecraft, Mojang hosted Minecon, a three-day convention themed around the game that has since become an annual event. Following the event and release the month after, Notch transferred his lead designer role to Bergensten.
By March 2012, Minecraft garnered $80 million USD in revenue, making Mojang the most successful indie studio. In 2013, more versions of the game were released, including an education-focused edition for Raspberry Pi devices, and ports to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, the PlayStation Vita. In October 2013, Mojang hired Jonas Mårtensson, a former member of gambling company Betsson, as its new vice-president. By the end of the year, the company's venues were recorded to be up to $330 million USD.
2014 - Present: Xbox Game Studios ownership
On June 2014, after feeling exhausted from the pressure of owning Minecraft, Notch published a post on his Twitter account asking if any companies were interested in purchasing his share in Mojang. After several offers from Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts, the company chose Xbox Game Studios due to previous partnerships. Mojang was purchased for $2.5 billion and was finalized on November 6, 2014; following the completed sale, Notch, Porsér, and Manneh left the company, with Mårtensson succeeding as CEO; employees that stayed after the sale completion were paid a $300,000 bonus.
Since the acquisition, Mojang has released several spin-offs to Minecraft; these include Minecraft: Story Mode (in collaboration with Telltale Games), dungeon-crawler Minecraft Dungeons, and augmented-reality mobile game Minecraft Earth. Outside of the franchise, Mojang has also published a few smaller titles including Crown and Council and the completed Scrolls, which got renamed to Caller's Bane to avoid any copyright infringement with Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls franchise. By 2019, Minecraft became the best-selling video game of all time, selling 147 million copies. On May 17, 2020, Mojang AB rebranded itself to Mojang Studios in an effort to reflect its multi-studio structure.
Involvement with Super Smash Bros.
Mojang Studios became the tenth third-party company to join Smash as Steve and Alex (with a Zombie and an Enderman as their palette swaps), the playable avatars from Minecraft, joined Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a part of Fighters Pass Volume 2. They bring with them the stage Minecraft World, 7 music tracks, and multiple Spirits. Separate paid DLC Mii Fighter costumes of a Creeper, a Pig, and the Diamond Armor are also available.
- Technically speaking, Mojang Studios is the first independent company to join Smash, as Minecraft was first an indie title before being purchased by Xbox Game Studios
- Mojang is also one of five companies to be introduced to Smash through DLC; the other four being Square Enix, Atlus, parent company Xbox Game Studios, and SNK.
- Mojang is one of three Western development companies to have representation in Smash; the other two are fellow Xbox Game Studios subsidiary Rare Ltd. (Diddy Kong, King K. Rool, and Banjo & Kazooie) and Retro Studios (Dark Samus).
- Oddly, Mojang is credited by their old name, Mojang AB, instead of its current name in the copyrights.
- Cheshire, Tom (15 September 2014). Changing the game: how Notch made Minecraft a cult hit (English). Wired UK. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Chung, Ernest (22 April 2015). Interview with CEO of Code Club AB: Developer of Sandbox MMO - Wurm Online (English). Xsolla. Archived from the original on 24 January 2018. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Cox, Alex (4 September 2020). The history of Minecraft – the best selling PC game ever (English). TechRadar. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Cobbett, Richard (25 August 2011). Cobalt: a gorgeous 2D blaster published by Minecraft creators, Mojang (English). PC Gamer. Retrieved on 16 January 2021.
- Sarkar, Samit (1 February 2013). Mojang tallied 2012 revenue of nearly $240M, looking to expand Minecraft to new markets (English). Polygon. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Peel, Jeremy (3 October 2010). Mojang has a new vice president with a familiar face (English). PCGamesN. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Luckerson, Victor (18 March 2014). Minecraft Is Still Generating Insane Amounts of Cash for Developer Mojang (English). Time. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Stuart, Keith (15 September 2014). Minecraft sold: Microsoft buys Mojang for $2.5bn (English). The Guardian. Retrieved on 16 January 2021.
- Makuch, Eddie (4 June 2015). Everyone Who Stayed at Mojang After Microsoft Buyout Got a Big Bonus (English). GameSpot. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Williams, Mike (18 December 2014). Minecraft Story Mode Is a Chance for Minecraft and Telltale to Expand (English). USGamer. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Dring, Christopher (14 May 2020). Mojang returns to its indie roots with Minecraft Dungeons (English). GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Conditt, Jessica (29 September 2018). Meet 'Minecraft: Dungeons,' an adventure game with online co-op (English). Engadget. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- O'Connor, Alice (22 April 2016). Minecraft Devs Release Crown And Council Free (English). Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Fogel, Stefanie (20 June 2018). Mojang’s Card Game ‘Scrolls’ Gets New Name, Is Now Free-To-Play (English). Variety. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Valentine, Rebekah (17 May 2019). Minecraft has sold 176 million copies worldwide (English). GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.
- Kerr, Chris (18 May 2020). Minecraft developer Mojang rebrands as Mojang Studios (English). Gamasutra. Retrieved on 25 January 2021.