Microsoft Buys Minecraft, Notch Exits



Markus "Notch" Persson in black coat and hat in snow

This morning, in a news post published by Microsoft, it was announced that the company had reached an agreement with Stockholm-based indie development company, Mojang AB. The cost of buy out? 2.5 billion dollars. Now everyone might be remembering the Tomb Raider debacle recently regarding exclusivity on the Xbox One, but CEO, Satya Nadella, and Microsoft have stated that Minecraft will remain available for PC (G2A), iOS, Android, Xbox, and Playstation.

Upon selling Mojang to Microsoft, Minecraft creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, made his exit, siting not money as being the reason, but sanity. Saying,

“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,” Persson wrote. “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 all became too much for him like many game developers before. Most recently was Vietnam-based developer Nguyễn Hà Đông, owner of .GEAR Studios, and the creator of Flappy Bird. After a certain point you just want to be another person rather than someone who is idolized as a celebrity. People have unrealistic expectations, and sometimes we forget that those people we look up to, those people we want to be or be like when we grow up. They are only human. The pressure became too much and he needed a break. We all go through similar experiences, maybe not on so great of a scale, but sometimes you just need a little bit of time off. Maybe Markus Persson will be back in the future, or maybe not(ch). For now, you can expect to see him attending the next Ludum Dare game making competition.

"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately."

The full fairwell letter is available below.

I’m leaving Mojang
September 15th, 2014

I don’t see myself as a real game developer. 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. 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.

A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.

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.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.

I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.

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. 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.

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

 

About Matt Merlenbach

Matt Merlenbach is the founder of MetaGamr. He loves RPG's and fears no gazebo. Connect with him at the links below:

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