Microsoft may buy Minecraft developer for $2 billion

The acquisition would be Microsoft's first big one since former CEO Steve Ballmer stepped down in July

Satya Nadella could be gearing for his first big acquisition as Microsoft CEO: the company is close to buying the maker of the game Minecraft for more than $2 billion, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.

Microsoft is in "serious talks" to buy Minecraft's Swedish developer, a company called Mojang, and the deal could be signed as early as this week, according to the Journal, which cited an unnamed person with knowledge of the deal.

Minecraft has become something of a cult hit, a game in which players can build pretty much anything they want to using textured 3D blocks. The game was originally developed for PCs but is now offered for Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation, and there are popular mobile versions for iOS and Android.

Microsoft declined to comment on the Journal report and Mojang couldn't immediately be reached. It would be Microsoft's first big acquisition since Nadella took over from former CEO Steve Ballmer in July this year.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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