No, that title is not a typo.
Let's face it, Microsoft didn't really buy Mojang for, well, Mojang... they dropped $2.5 billion for the privilege of owning Minecraft, and it's fairly easy to see why. It's a time of transition for Mojang, of course. What indie culture existed there is changed forever by this, not least because of the departure of several of the studio's founders, Notch included. It's not about the money, apparently, but rather to avoid going insane.
Given how massive Minecraft has become, for a mild-mannered bearded chap who just wants to go about making little games that interest him once again, I can't say that I blame Persson.
Minecraft is huge, it's gone beyond games to the point where it's now used fairly widely as an educational tool. As Notch wrote in his farewell blog post, Minecraft belongs to its millions of fans as well as Microsoft. There's a lot of love for the voxel-based trailblazer, and there were a range of reactions to the confirmation of the buyout on Twitter, even when the buyout was a mere whisper.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) September 10, 2014
— Xbox (@Xbox) September 15, 2014
Some were confused by the amount of money that Microsoft had paid...
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— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) September 15, 2014
Microsoft have bought Minecraft. Well, they've bought Mojang, but given that three of the studio's founders are leaving, I reckon we can tell it how it is. For Notch, his creation has grown too big. He is now a man with nearly two million followers on Twitter, an industry figure whose musings on social media have become newsworthy headlines.
And it's all become a little too much.
"I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."
It reminds me of the departure of the two Doctors from BioWare in some ways -- a situation that's understandable and yet tinged with sadness -- but at least Notch is saying that he wants to keep making games. They'll be smaller, much smaller, but there'll be something freeing about developing without a million eyes or so looking over his shoulder (eventually).Click here to read more...
Remember last year, when it looked like, for a split-second, Tim Schafer and Markus Persson might team up to bring Psychonauts 2 to fruition? Apparently at the time, Notch was willing to match Schafer's valuation at $13 million.
Except it seems the number was wrong. And Notch is out.Click here to read more...
Mojang's upcoming space sim, 0x10c, seems to be coming along nicely. This new footage demonstrates multiplayer in action along with basic gunplay and lighting... in fact, it looks a lot like Marathon to us. In a good way.
"The bot character is a placeholder model, and the flickering is a bug," reads Markus "Notch" Persson's annotation. "Most of everything is missing, but it's a start! Also, there's sound!"
0x10c promises to let players explore a dying universe at the bitter end of its life, scripting their own AI and creating their own ships to tame the hostile edge of space. Sounds good to us.
Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson has delivered a scathing attack on Windows 8 after being asked whether he'd be willing to certify Minecraft for the operating system's. According to the influential indie developer, Microsoft are "trying to ruin the PC as an open platform - and he'd like to "convince a few people not to switch to Windows 8."
Interestingly, though, certification is only compulsory for apps on the official integrated games marketplace.Click here to read more...
Despite many players wanting to buy and play Minecraft on Steam, Markus "Notch" Persson is slightly worried Valve's digital platform becoming a monopoly in the PC market, and hopes that more games will follow his example by self-publishing.Click here to read more...
Please forgive the pun. We had to. It was fundamentally necessary.
Anyway, Minecraft: Xbox Edition has gone and broken the million-sales barrier in less than a week, which will probably surprise no-one. Still, applause all round.
It also nabbed the fastest selling XBLA game award too, beating Trials Evolution, which launched earlier this month.Click here to read more...
A nice thing happened last week. EA put six great games on sale, all of which were published through their partners programme and developed by independently-run studios. We stood to make a tidy saving, EA could have enjoyed some good publicity and the developers could have made some extra scratch. Everybody went home a winner, beaming with joy and the satisfaction of taking part in something worthwhile.
Not quite. Chances are many of you heard of the EA Indie Bundle for entirely the wrong reasons, not least of which being its name. EA's casual use of the word 'Indie' was the tip of an avaricious iceberg that caught the attention of Markus "Notch" Persson, who proceeded to slam EA as a "bunch of cynical b*stards" and blame them for "methodically destroying" the games industry. These comments quickly spread through Twitter into every corner of the internet, sparking angry debate between players, journalists and even indie developers from all over the industry.
All that over a reduced price for Gatling Gears, Deathspank, Shank, Shank 2 and WARP. Depressingly, both sides were completely in the wrong in this case, overshadowing a nice little bundle with rampant greed on the one hand and massive over-reaction on the other. Sit back and relax, dear reader, while I proceed to make a molehill out of a mountain.
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EA recently released a so-called "Indie bundle," which was a bizarre name for an admittedly impressive selection of smaller games published as part of the EA Partners program. However, Mojang boss Markus "Notch" Petersson has taken to Twitter to decry this promotion as a shameless example of a triple-A publishers cashing in on the Humble Bundle bandwagon... and "methodically destroying gaming" in the process.Click here to read more...
A handful of prototype screens for Markus 'Notch' Persson's new title 0x10c have found their way onto the internet. The ambitious space-based project is hoped to incorporate working computers on ships and allow players to land seamlessly on planets.
In typically transparent fashion for Mojang, some very, very early prototype screenshots have emerged for the game, with what looks like a low-res Team Fortress 2 soldier in the one above, which Notch said displayed "flashlights, for spelunking and fixing broken ships!"Click here to check out the screens...
After suggesting that his next post-Minecraft project would be a space trading game, Mojang boss Markus ‘Notch’ Persson has revealed that the dream will become a reality. Ox10c (the c is superscript) will allow players to create their own spaceship in the far, far future of an alternate universe, using a powerful computer system that can genuinely be programmed and scripted to give players as much control as they want. It's a staggeringly exciting announcement, and we have the full details below.
Elite meets Minecraft. We want this.Click here to read more...
Markus Persson has said that he finds the notion of having one platform for digital distribution a little scary.
“I think it’s a bit dangerous to only have one digital distribution platform like Steam. I love Valve, but out of principle, I find the idea of one platform a bit scary,” he said.
“So I like that there are others competing – for example, Desura and Impulse, who recently got bought by GameStop. It’s a good thing that there are more.”Click here to read more...
Epic's Cliff Bleszinski has lightly suggested that Markus Persson (Notch) is a little bit like the games industry version of Justin Bieber, insofar as both have enjoyed seemingly overnight success, though the true effort behind the scenes has been building for "a very long time".Click here to read more...
Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson will be receiving the BAFTA Special Award next week in recognition of his meteoric career, supporting the independent developer comminity and setting up his own publishing company from incredibly humble beginnings. Notch is thrilled by the announcement, and chuffed that he'll be coming to London to receive it.
“I’ve always considered the BAFTA Awards to be one of the most prestigious awards one can receive, and I was very happy when it expanded to cover video games in 1998."
“When I first heard that I would receive a BAFTA Special Award, I was blown away and deeply humbled. Going to London to accept this award is going to be a very positive and interesting experience that I’m very much looking forward to.”
BAFTA plans to acknowledge Persson's "determination and innovation" with the award, and it's well deserved in our book.
Notch wasn't messing about when he suggested that he'd be willing to help finance Psychonauts 2. Tim Schafer told Kotaku that the Mojang boss was willing to match his $13 million valuation for the project almost immediately, and without question.
I was like, 'I don't think you can make [it] for a million dollars'
The original game was, I think, $13 million, I think you have to match the original game.
As soon as I mentioned the amount of money he said, 'Yeah, I can do that.'
Notch has apparently also apologised for making the declaration of interest in such a public way (Schafer likened it to being "proposed to at a baseball game" after the news went viral), but the move certainly provided the perfect storm to launch the Double Fine Kickstarter. As for Psychonauts 2, we'll have to wait and see. [Picture courtesy of Notch himself]
There have been some strange things happening this week, but I want to focus on just one: the Double Fine Kickstarter campaign, and in order to do that, we have to go all of the way back to an interview between Digital Spy's Matthew Reynolds and Double Fine's talismanic creative director, Tim Schafer.
"I mean I get a lot of, on Twitter or whatever, daily questions about Psychonauts 2," said Schafer. "And I would love to do Psychonauts 2, I've actually pitched that to publishers several times and no-one has taken the bait so far."
The discussion surrounding the very possibility of Schafer revisiting old material was picked up by a number of media sites, ourselves included, and credit should certainly go to Reynolds for the little bit of excitable hubbub that was generated. Of course, it would never happen, we told ourselves; damn publishers! But then which publisher would be mad enough to go for a sequel to an admittedly astoundingly original game like Psychonauts that tanked on release? Schafer has always been something of a creative genius, but commercially-speaking he has been something of a risky venture for the last fifteen years. It wasn't wholly responsible, but the failure of Psychonauts played a big part in Majesco's retreat from big-budget games.
The solution, of course, made after Brutal Legend more or less disappeared off of the face of the earth, was to split the studio into smaller internal teams, working on smaller titles with smaller budgets and more creative freedom.
And then Notch stepped in.Click here to read more...