The truth about Microsoft's controversial $2.5 billion mega-deal: "It's not about the money. It's about my sanity"

The indie game, and studio were plucked by Microsoft -- but developers will not follow


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Sarah Gray
September 15, 2014 6:50PM (UTC)

Microsoft confirmed on Monday morning that it is purchasing the incredibly popular indie game, "Minecraft," along with the development studio, Mojang, for $2.5 billionCreator, Markus "Notch" Persson, and founders Carl Manneh and Jakob Porse, however, will not be joining Microsoft.

"Minecraft" was developed by Persson -- "Notch" -- and has proved to be an incredible indie game success story. It had a small marketing budget, but with the magic of imagination, word of mouth and a cult following the game became an extraordinary hit.

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'"Minecraft' is important because it proves that independent games can hit it big," Andrew Leonard wrote last year for Salon. "That a single programmer (or handful of programmers) can come up with an idea, distribute it over the Internet, and strike it rich."

Persson explained the decision to sell to Microsoft in a blog-post. "It's not about the money," he wrote. "It's about my sanity."

"I don’t see myself as a real game developer," Persson stated. "I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world."

"Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games," he continued. "I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting."

He also explains his reluctance to be a symbol. "I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO," Persson wrote. "I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."

Regardless of his disinterest in being a symbol, "Minecraft" players trusted "Notch," and are undoubtedly nervous about the sale, and what will happen to the game. Microsoft has announced that the game will still be available over all gaming platforms.

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In his post, Persson acknowledged that there will be negative reaction to the sale of "Minecraft." He explains that in essence the game belongs to players and fans.

"I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big," he explained. "In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change."

Persson will continue to work on "small web experiments" and Ludum Dares.


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Innovation Internet Microsoft Minecraft Notch Tech Video Games

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