Why Notch is leaving Minecraft behind

3 min read
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Notch

The big news at the end of the day yesterday was the confirmation that Microsoft now owns Mojang, the company in charge of Minecraft. Many people are prepared to call Notch all kinds of names, and I probably can’t stop you. But his reasons for getting out make sense.

In his official statement saying that he was leaving Mojang, Markus “Notch” Persson explained the he doesn’t see himself as a real game developer. He makes games because it’s fun and because he enjoys programming, not because he wants to change the world with his massive hits. He stepped down from Minecraft development long ago, handing the reins to Jens Bergensten. This was partially to go work on other projects, but I think Notch also wanted some distance from his mega-success. He goes on to explain the catalyst for his decision to leave Mojang:

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.

Notch plans to go back to doing Ludum Dares and small experiments, assuming that he will probably abandon any project that seems to gain traction. He knows he has a specific public image, but it’s skewed and not based on who he is. He loves everyone who has turned Minecraft into what it has become, but explains that there are simply too many of us out there and he can’t be responsible for something this big:

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.

For those who want more insight, this video about Phil Fish really is quite extraordinary. It explains that we don’t hate Phil Fish for being a tool, we hate him for “being famous wrong”. The internet made him famous, he didn’t do anything other than be his own, cantankerous self while making a game that made him popular. That led to his eventual demonization – sure, he said some awful things on the internet, but the only reason we hate him for it is because he’s famous. Just think of all the ridiculous things we say on social media on a daily basis; now imagine that was newsworthy. This was what Notch is hoping to avoid.

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I’m not sure if Notch can avoid the Phil Fish effect, but here’s hoping he can live his life and be himself.

Last Updated: September 16, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • MrChinwag

    Yea if Gamer would stop enjoying the indie games and making the creators famous. maybe then they’d stop being dicks about it . Wonder what this means for Minecraft now..?? How wil Microsoft fuck it up.

    • Viking Of Science

      Xbox One version will require Kinect.

      • WarframedSquirrel

        Xbox One version is out already and doesn’t require Kinect… yet.

  • I can see how this sort of thing can mess with your mind. Look at Fish for example. Guy wired himself wrong.

  • Admiral Chief Assassin

    At least he is not a self entitled silly-beard

    • JJ the Reus

      No beard is silly.

      • Hammersteyn

        Exactly, Phil doesn’t have a beard.

        • JJ the Reus

          Exaaactly!

      • Admiral Chief Assassin

        Have you seen Phil’s beard????

  • Hammersteyn

    I hate EA the same way the guy in the video hates Nickelback , EA bought into DLC,season passes and microtransactions and other companies followed.

    • JJ the Reus

      I share your hate.

    • “It’s just the evolution of games”… NO IT ISN’T!

      • Hammersteyn

        “Get with the times” … BULLSHIT!

      • JJ the Reus

        It’s the evolution of your pockets, maybe.

        • That would be devolution surely? 0_O

          • JJ the Reus

            Oo. Nice

      • Weanerdog

        Well the sad thing is that they are right, Ok stop! Wipe the spit off your mouth take a deep breath and continue reading.

        EA is not making games anymore for the sake of making great games, they are making games to provide a return for their stakeholders. Now as mobile games grow the income streams from this area increase and EA will have to divert resources to this area to make more profit, unless they can increase profit streams from what is seen as current mainstream games.

        As it becomes more and more difficult to finance larger projects due to the spiraling of costs we are seeing more and more developers going out of business. It is useless making great games if you can’t pay the bills at the end of the day. All you need is one flop and you are in it.

        Yes there is a huge market, but it is being serviced by a smaller and smaller group of publishers. The smaller the group the more likely you have to play on their terms. Their ball their rules playground mentality. Sure there are a vast number of independents and indie developers, but they struggle with the resources to produce AAA type titles and often only have one great game in them.

        Anyway these are merely my sad ponderings.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          You absolutely nailed it when you said they’re making games for shareholders.

          • Weanerdog

            They are not a gaming company, all the top management is business persons without any video game experience the sole purpose is ROI, the product is irrelevant.

        • CAE9872

          Yip the sooner people realise that EA couldn’t give a shit half the time, the better! It is all about the greenbacks and, possibly, rightly so. If I was a shareholder I want a return on my investment, not to hear that some dude or dudette is overjoyed that Mirrors Edge 2, which mostly tanked, is being made!!!

          However, as a gamer, we can all love to hate them…and then wander off to buy their next game. I know I do as some of their games are good actually. I really enjoyed FIFA 14 to be fair.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    That’s as good a reason as any, not that he owed anyone one. Odds are I’d do the same in his situation because he’s in the completely enviable position of being able to do whatever the hell he wants to now. Plus who wants to deal with tons & tons of negativity every day from anonymous toxic assholes. I used to have to deal with customers all day and with nothing near the volume he deals with, it was draining even when they weren’t all being tools. Wish him all the best.

    • Weanerdog

      The question is do you want to deal with a ton of arseholes or a ton of money.

      But let us be honest I believe he has made the right decision for the right reasons.

    • Agreed. He owes us nothing, he just happened to get very, very lucky with something he had fun making.

    • JJ the Reus

      I agree. People take ownership in something they love and then blame the creator if they make the slightest decision that might do themselves good.
      If I worked hard at something, it did well and I get rewarded handsomely for it, I’d say that would mean I made a success.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Exactly, that’s why I can so easily ignore the slights towards my imperial rule.

        • JJ the Reus

          You’re a wise leader Emperor.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            That’s what We said.

          • JJ the Reus

            o/

  • I have 120% respect for this man. He is following his ideals and dreams and doing what he loves above all else. And as he said. Minecraft belongs to all the fans that have made it a greater game than either Notch or Mojang ever could have.

    He made the right move.

  • Hammersteyn

    It doesn’t matter if you are a famous dev or not. I don’t need to know Phil in order to understand why he tells people to suck his dick. If you make games you have a product that you need to sell and even if you sell millions, being abusive won’t help your chances in the future

  • Rags

    So he slags off Palmer, who uses the funds to grow and better his company, while he takes the money and runs. Can’t blame him, but the double standard?

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      I think the difference is Palmer got his idea off the ground through crowd funding, then sold his company before that product was even released commercially. So is it really a double standard?

      • Rags

        I think so. Kickstarter is just glorified donations and he delivered on the pledge rewards. Backers don’t have a say in business decisions.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          That’s true enough, I hate hearing Kickstarter backers talking about how they’re investors. They’re not.

          • Kromas of City17

            Kickstarter is like religion. When the donation box comes around Sunday you are “investing” in the afterlife.

            lol

  • Jac7

    I wish him well. I’m sometimes so taken aback at the sense of entitlement so many people in the comments’ section have. Not here at Lazygamer, though. I kinda love you all. No, take a look at the comments on IGN and you start to wonder how many people were denied a breast when they needed milk most. Verbal diarrhea all over the damn place. Can’t imagine having to deal with the amount of flack this guy has to put up with and for what? Having created something entertaining? What an asshole.

  • Valshen

    So glad you included the video. More people need to be aware of the symbol vs the very real person.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      indeed. fucking Nickelback. 😛

    • TGS Babay (Umar)

      Agree, brilliant short film

  • WarframedSquirrel

    Notch created something that he didn’t expect to become as big as it has… MineCraft now a household name and he stepped back a LONG time ago, I don’t think he even knows what’s in MineCraft anymore.

    The dude’s actually really nice and stated long ago that he didn’t like the fame that the game brought him.

    I just hope that Microsoft does good with MineCraft (and Mojang as a whole) and doesn’t absolutely destroy it.

  • Anon A Mouse

    If I like Nickleback, does that mean I like Phil Fish?

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Or you just like symbols
      % & #

      • Kromas of City17

        I object … I like The Symbol formerly known as The Artist formerly known as Prince. 😛

        • CAE9872

          Clever…

    • JJ the Reus

      No, of course not. But we can’t promise we won’t make fun of you.

    • HvR

      If you like Nickleback you might want visit an ENT specialist just to be on the safe side.

  • HvR

    This is how the business world works, people who are good creating, inventing things are crap at running big businesses.

    So the typical roadmap is have the idea, create a prototype, get start up funding (or if you have the opertunity sell off idea at this point), get the idea up and running as a viable business and then sell it off to the big corp for cash and stock. Go to idea number 2.

  • Willem Swanepoel

    To be able to make the Diamond pick axe, you need to buy the DLC, diamond crafting machine.

    But first, you need to buy the DLC to be able to find diamonds in the world.

    Microtransactions will come to this game. It has so much DLC potential, Microsoft want their own Sims type system that EA already using to milk people. They paid $2.5 bil for it, with that huge investment you do not want to wait 5-10 years to make that money.

    Awel, its business … ;-(

  • CAE9872

    I don’t get the Minecraft phenomenon personally – I can understand dabbling in it but spending DAYS upon DAYS lugging rock around…nah! Too each their own though.

    And quite possibly, he doesn’t quite get why Minecraft was successful either. Timing is crucial in business sometimes.

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