As rumoured, Microsoft has acquired Swedish developer Mojang and smash hit sandbox title Minecraft for US$2.5 billion.

As a result of the sale, Mojang co-founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porsér are all leaving the company

Mojang's Owen Hill shed some light on why Notch made the decision to sell and leave Mojang in a post on the company’s blog.

"He's decided that he doesn't want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance," Hill said.

"Over the past few years he's made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang."

The vast majority of Mojang employees are expected to remain with the company.

Xbox head Phil Spencer said he had great respect for the independent spirit of Minecraft, and emphasised that Microsoft would continue to support the game on competing platforms.

“At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms,” he wrote.

“Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise.

“That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android, and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC.

Spencer also confirmed that Minecraft expo MineCon will continue next year.

Microsoft said in an investor relations release that it "expects the acquisition to be break-even in FY15 on a GAAP basis" – that is, the company expects to make more money from Minecraft by June 2015 than it would make if that US$2.5 billion sat in the bank for a year and generated US$25 million in interest.

The company has around US$85.7 billion in cash and short term investments on hand.

Industry analysts were mostly positive on the acquisition.

"At first glance, the acquisition makes strategic sense for Microsoft in terms of strengthening the games platform, but also extending the company more into the realms of cloud and mobile," Baird's Colin Sebastian told GamesIndustry.

"Clearly, Minecraft is not at the steepest point of its growth trajectory, but as an online service there is the potential for Minecraft to be successful for years to come."

Wedbush's Michael Pachter agreed.

"It gives them an entry into mid core, can differentiate their devices, and can generate revenue for 10 years," he said.

"I think you will see Master Chief and Gears characters in future versions of Minecraft. It gives them another strong franchise with a desirable installed base of young people."