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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

You can't always stay indie – Minecraft acquired by Microsoft

Is Stockholm’s Minecraft going to be the next Solitaire or Minesweeper? Today the rumored deal between Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, and Microsoft was confirmed for a $2.5 billion deal which puts it up there as one of the most massive gaming exit for the region. More information about what to expect (or all the things hanging in the air) can be found posted on the Mojang blog.

Minecraft will go down as one of the best gaming successes from the Nordics, even if it’s being billed as a gift and a curse by its creator. In a blog post by Markus “Notch” Persson about why he’s leaving Mojang, he spoke about how he doesn’t see himself as a real game developer in the sense that he’s feeling the weight of the spotlight rather than drawing creativity from it. Like it or not, Persson has become a voice of gaming from which countless articles and debates can stem from a single tweet, it appears Persson would rather just be another guy who likes making games and not getting bothered about it.

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“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,” he writes.

What Minecraft embodies best is the rapidly changing nature of how games are created. Back in the day developers used to ship a finished product, but Minecraft felt like the first big success that grew as much as its userbase did – drawing from feedback and really using an accessible and “indie” back-and-forth between developers and the fans to shape the direction of the game as the bugs were worked out.

Today gamers expect a work-in-progress mindset from indie games, thanks to Mincraft and also the rise of Kickstarter. In response the money side of gaming has changed as well; publishing platform Steam have added in early-access features to get alpha builds into the hands of players, giving developers more tools for accessing an early audience.

Now it seems Minecraft will also embody the double edged sword of an indie success. While I’m sure many developers out there wouldn’t mind the problems of managing a massive young and content-hungry userbase, I’m sure Persson and the Mojang team won’t mind a $2.5 billion exit.

Image by Z4Minecraft on Planet Minecraft

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