Minecraft Dev To Start His Own Studio

By Jim Rossignol on September 9th, 2010 at 1:52 pm.


Minecraft developer Markus ‘Notch’ Persson is “Hiring some people, getting an office, and all that!” He recently blogged to say that he’d be continuing to work on phenomenal co-op building game Minecraft, while at the same time starting another project with a close friend. Not only that, but he’ll be doing all the other stuff associated with running a studio, too.

I will be the main developer, and I will keep working on it just as I have now, but there will be people supporting me, such as an artist, a web site developer and a business guy to help sort out all deals and make sure that things like the Creeper plushies actually happens.

Splendid news.

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75 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge Ging says:

    This is indeed grand news and not entirely surprising given how well minecraft has done for him so far – 100,000+ sales at ~10 euros a pop is a good result in anyones book!

  2. Butterbumps says:

    Excellent news. I hope this means he’ll have more time to actually work on the game.

    I just recently bought Minecraft, and it’s Incredible for a game that’s only in alpha. I can’t wait to see how it improves in the future.

  3. terry says:

    Good to see him doing well, he deserves it. I think I got my money’s worth within the first day and I’ve been playing it on and off since. With this (and Valve’s support), I’m excited to see what happens next for Minecraft.

  4. airtekh says:

    This game just keeps getting better and better with each iteration; and it’s still in alpha!

    Hopefully the game will get updated more frequently now he has staff to delegate stuff to.

  5. Premium User Badge Schaulustiger says:

    Minecraft is one of the most promising games right now. It’s already providing tons of fun but it still has so much room for improvement and I’m looking forward to every new iteration.

    Notch truly deserves every penny he gets and I hope that Minecraft gets some more exposure once it’s ready for for a release on the likes of Steam etc.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Actually from reading the forums he seems to be quite anti-steam. I expect he will self publish.

    • laikapants says:

      @jon_hill987: While he could have changed his position on it recently, I suppose, in the regular reading of his blog he has at least once described it as (paraphrasing) ‘a dream for it to get on Steam’. I’d hunt down a proper quote and source for you, but my work internet is lucky enough to have the ficklest of firewalls.

    • Butterbumps says:

      I do recall him describing Valve as his ‘heroes’ at one point recently. Not that that necessarily means he’d want his game on Steam, of course.

      It does seem like it’d be a good fit, though, with the frequent updates and all.

    • Peterkopf says:

      I’m pretty sure a guy “having discussions” with Valve, and signing NDAs probably isn’t all that anti-steam.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      It was quite a long time ago he was talking that view, I may be misremembering or as you say he may have changed his mind lately. It doesn’t make much difference to me mind, I bought the game direct ages ago.

    • Draken says:

      @laikapants and others: My guess is this: as a user, he doesn’t like using steam, since it’s crap (it is), but as a developer, steam is wonderful, since it has so much exposure nowadays and will surely generate lots of sales.

  6. Po0py says:

    Last time I had a look he was selling 3000 games a day. This past 24 hours he has sold 3467 copies.

    Thats £24,000 a day. I’m sure there are other fee’s that he has to deal with but the point is he is minted. Credit to him.

    Not at all surprised this is happening.

    • Po0py says:

      Those figures seem hard to wrap my brain around. Did I get my maths right?

    • Butterbumps says:

      3000 * €10 = €30,000. Looks about right to me.

    • Butterbumps says:

      God damn, that really is a metric shit-ton of money, though.

    • Po0py says:

      Yes. Crazy money. Thats what threw me. Made me doubt my maths. He’s gonna have tax and administration cost and all sorts of other stuff to take care of but even still, the dude is minted.

    • Weylund says:

      Problem: how many days will it take, at 3000+ sales per day, to exhaust his entire possible user base?

      For a game that’s basically just going to keep improving and isn’t just a tech demo for something bigger, he’s either going to a) have to change his fee policy or b) have to, like the Mount & Blade people, charge for the “next” iteration that’s nothing more than a slightly polished version of same.

      Neither of these says “sales longevity” to me.

    • Butterbumps says:

      Well, the obvious counter example is TF2, which (I think?) still sells pretty well nearly three years later, primarily off the back of frequent content updates.

      Of course, the difference is that TF2 has the mighty resources of Valve behind it, so it’s debatable whether a much smaller company can pull off the same thing.

    • cliffski says:

      “Problem: how many days will it take, at 3000+ sales per day, to exhaust his entire possible user base?”

      Assuming a possible amrket of 3 million gamers?
      well 1,000 days, or 2 and a half years.
      Scary isn’t it?

    • Weylund says:

      I wouldn’t assume 3 million possible buyers. Not nearly. Would you assume that GSB has 3 million possible buyers?

      And the differences between a multiplayer FPS – from Valve, no less, as you mention – and a game that looks like Minecraft and involves actual work rather than just hopping around and hitting mouse buttons, in terms of their potential user base, are to me glaringly obvious. You don’t have nearly the same potential sales. Dwarf Fortress is pretty universally loved but I don’t expect it would sell more than a few hundred thousand copies, and that’s being very generous.

      I’m not begrudging him his success – any game with that much love put into it deserves to do well. What I’m saying is I hope he’s not building the company based on these numbers.

    • Tei says:

      Probably is not a good idea to sell a game for 10$ if the number of clients is too small. But in 2’5 years you can make another 10$ game. So maybe you can pay the bills, and a new pants. Or you can ask 15$ + 5$, and buy really cool pants.

    • Tei says:

      NOTE:

      I have see a 11 years old in the minecraft forum asking for people to help him buy the game. And theres a whole thread of “beggers” for people that want to buy the game and can’t
      Apparently, the game is “naif” enough and looks accesible enough, to be attractive to very young people.
      You also have a lot of people building electric circuits with NAND, XOR, and the like … creating clocks.
      *maybe* Minecraft is not a obscure game, of the type of Dwarft Fortress.

    • Weylund says:

      Ahh, maybe you guys are right. It’s easy to get caught up in a money farm mentality though… I just hope he socks some of it away for future operating expenses. I guess what worries me are his plans for hiring multiple people, especially a bunch of people not dedicated to producing content. A one-man operation’s reinvestments are necessarily smaller, and much less capital is needed if sales are slow.

  7. Huggster says:

    This internet radio station goes perfect with your diamond digging:

    http://somafm.com/play/dronezone

    Its actually quite a relaxing game, interspersed with blind panic and eating bacon.

  8. DoucheMullet says:

    I really don’t understand why people find this game so fun. It is incredibly boring and quite an eye sore to look at too.

    I think I’ll stick with Gmod.

    • Po0py says:

      It just depends on weather you are the creative type or not. I play a lot of survival single player mode. It’s basically mining and building. Eventually you have your own little town full of buildings and crazy sculptures and what not. Mining for diamonds can be a drag but it’s also a great game to listen to podcasts to so it’s not all bad. I also have a texture pack mod that makes everything look way prettier. The default textures get old after a while.

    • MWoody says:

      Are you trying the free version? That’s a common problem – the free versions are crappy, extreme early technology tests with zero gameplay. They’re not demos, just several-year-old proof-of-concept builds that he lets people play with.

      I’d say he needs to fix that and provide a proper demo, but looking at his sales numbers, he needs to ignore me and indeed everyone else. Whatever he’s doing is working. A LOT.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      Yeah, Minecraft is a very much a Sandbox. It’s a good game to fire up and play to pass some time, but most players end up spending Civilization-amounts of hours just exploring/building. Also, MWoody is right. The free version on the Minecraft website is a bad representation of what the full Alpha offers currently.

      @ Po0py
      What’s the name of this texture pack mod that you’re using?

    • Po0py says:

      @sigma draconis.

      I’m using brown and bloom.
      http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=21302
      Those screens don’t really do it much justice. There are other great looking ones that I want to try soon.

      Here is a giant thread full of them
      http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=12352

      Now that Notch is hiring a new artist you can expect the “I’m not buying this because it’s fugly.” crowd are gonna start having second thoughts.

    • Rich says:

      I like the second one in that list. Looks very Zelda.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      Thanks, Po0py. The second texture pack does look great.

  9. laikapants says:

    It is only a matter of time before the Creeper Plushies become a terrifying(ly amazing) reality.

    Notch continues to be my favourite dev around and the help should help him maintain his sanity, which is always a plus.

    Also, I kind of (but am especially terrified of the hypothetical end products) wish/hope Notch and the Frictional Games devs could team up for something or do a weird game crossover. That’d probably just make the Minecraft caves even scarier and let me punch holes in the walls in Amnesia, but I’d take what I could get.

  10. Tei says:

    I am playing the survivor mode, on my own winter map, and is a amazing game.
    Building your stuff, and learning the game, creating more and more awesome stuff. Alpha or not, is a perfect combination of survivor+creative game.

    Hope some modability is added, because this will evolve to epic proportions.

    Just imagine a “Mordor” map with 1:1 scale.

  11. Navagon says:

    Good to see another indie making it in the industry. I hope he doesn’t go overboard. Introversion made the jump too early and nearly collapsed because of it.

  12. Peterkopf says:

    So who’s paying for that studio?

    Is it Valve? Is it Bungie? Why the NDAs?

    Dun dun duuuuun.

    • Huggster says:

      Perhaps because he walked around Valve offices, just in case he saw any Ep3 or Portal 2 assets? And WHOOPS had his smart-phone out as well. Not that he would do such a thing anyway, but you know.

    • Premium User Badge Ging says:

      He’s paying for it – he’s made somewhere in the region of a million euros so far, admittedly that’s before taxes and other costs but should be enough left over alongside further sales to sort him out an office.

    • Peterkopf says:

      A million euros is obviously a lot, but is it capital enough (on it’s own) for an independent studio? It’s an expensive world out there, especially in a place like Stockholm. He could be riding the wave, but I don’t think his bank accountants are throwing their hands up just yet. I smell investment.

      There’s definitely something funny going on. You’re saying the idea is that he just got invited to Valve and Bungie for a chitchat and a cup of coffee? That’s some major nerd-to-nerd courtesy. He is having several talks with Valve, “discussions” by his own admission. I doubt he’s referring to a major philosophical debate, or a few snapshots of Valve goodies to come.

      I could be flat wrong though. Maybe Valve really are that nerdy.

    • Bozzley says:

      Valve flew Yahtzee from Australia to visit their offices. I think they are that geeky.

    • Peterkopf says:

      I thought about that myself, but quite arguably Valve got the quid for their pro quo on that one. You front one little trip to a studio, and you have one of the most exposed games journos writing and talking about your company for six months. You can’t even buy that sort of endorsement.

    • Milkoman says:

      Sweden could be a bit easier on small companies when it comes to taxes, and housing in Stockholm is expensiiiiiiiiive. But he doesn’t have to work downtown, as long as the tube is close by, any suburb would do.

  13. Sudbina says:

    @jon_hill987 “This is so cool I can’t even start to grasp it! VALVe’s made four of my favorite games ever (HL1, HL2, Portal and Team Fortress 2), and I have secret dreams of getting Minecraft up on Steam once it’s more complete. I own almost 200 games on Steam, which honestly has helped keep AAA PC gaming alive after traditional publishers started abandoning it.

    This is so cool that I can almost forgive them for forgetting about Gordon. Almost.

    Not quite.”

    http://notch.tumblr.com/post/874158392/minecraft-got-a-huge-mention-on-the-tf2-blog#disqus_thread

    Also, one of his earlier indie titles was a Left4Dead Demake, so I doubt he’s anti-Steam or anti-Valve.

  14. Tei says:

    the image is somewhat ugly, heres some better here:
    http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=10517

  15. Clovis says:

    I think the only problem with Minecraft is the enemies. People often think of Minecraft as an FPS Dwaf Fortress-light. However, there are no Hydras or Dragons. There is no impending threat of starvation. You really can’t dig “too deep”. The game just needs some more resourceful enemies. Sure, you can build a cool castle, with traps and stuff. But why? Keeping the monsters at bay is really easy. The creeper will only destroy your fortifications if you are standing next to him. So, I’m hoping that Notch finds a way to have the enemy response escalate.

    • Huggster says:

      Yeah its not very “deep” at the moment, I don’t play survival so much.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Thing is, if you have bought into Minecraft – and I did, already had many enjoyable hours – you can expect updates. And not just bugfixes, but new stuff. In a few weeks there may well be dragons, sea creatures, supposedly more farming mechanics are on the way, as are biomes and “semi-prefabricated scenery”.

      Agreed, as is, the gameplay is a touch “bare”, and you might get bored of it after a while, but there aren’t many games you can leave and come back to after a few weeks to find it has a metric ton of great new stuff for free. Might be why Team Fortress 2 is also so popular…

    • sneetch says:

      Yeah, that’s true, there’s really very little difficulty in simply surviving survivor mode: dig a hole, block yourself in, you have no needs and no threats and you can “survive” forever.

      It’d be nice if you had pressing needs for food, shelter, warmth and so on as well as avoiding/killing monsters (who can be far too easily barricaded out of your house).

    • Tei says:

      What is the point of surviving, if you can’t build Cirith Ungol?
      And to build Cirith Ungol you probably have to visit a lot of caves, to get the resources you need.
      Is a sandbox, and you set your challenges. A challenge can be different to combat, can be “build a rail self powered that connect my two houses” or stuff like that.
      Is more LEGO than Quake.

    • Clovis says:

      Oh, yeah, I’ve probably got 30+ hours or something out of it as is. Every time there is an update I have to spend a few more hours. The upcoming “monster villages” should be interesting too. For fun I recently travelled around a continent. That required creating a couple canals to avoid it sprawling out of control.

      I’m pretty confident that Notch will be making some big important changes in the next few months.

  16. mandrill says:

    /cynic

    He’s going to go all corporate and lose touch with the playerbase focussing on cashing in on minecraft and any future projects

    /cynic

    in all seriousness this is great news, minecraft is going to be huge if the rumours of a steam/valve deal are founded in reality

  17. Dominic White says:

    Just pointing out that he’s still going to be indie as hell. This ‘studio’ is probably going to be 3-4 people. He’ll still be doing 100% of the coding, but he’ll have an artist to do all the texture work and whatever is needed, a webmaster to keep their site running and looking spiffy, and a PR person who makes the game sell zillions of copies.

    Once the initial slowdown inherent in setting up the studio is over, Minecraft development should be faster than ever before.

  18. Sobric says:

    I think this is an appropriate place to drop this little tidbit in:

    http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=64473.0

    Shame it doesn’t work the other way yet.

    • Marcin says:

      My mind boggles. It’s actually a bit too much for me, but I’ll gladly look at other people’s fortresses in Minecraft! Heh.

  19. Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

    Minecrafters! What’s the best way to play this? I bought the beta a while back, jumped in, and found myself aimlessly wandering around hitting blocks.

    P.

    • laikapants says:

      @oceanclub: Here’s the first part of an ongoing Alpha Tutorial video series, should get you headed in a productive direction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VWnQHS-ffs

    • Tei says:

      Microtutorial:
      You first target is survive, to survive in good conditions you need coal and wood. Wood is easy to get, you can get with your bare hands from a tree, coal.. you have to walk and search it.
      You can make your own tools, learn the “tech tree”. Probably picks made of rocks.
      Coal is very important to make torchs, with torchs you have soo much better life, since you can see inside your house at the night.
      Once you have plenty of wood, coal and rocks, you sould try to get sand, with sand you can make glass, so you can make windows.
      Once you have windows, you probably sould look into creating trains to move around.
      Once you have trains, you can create water rives (for transport / decoration ), or lava rivers (for decoration mostly).
      If you all that want is “challenge” you can go and mine caves, thats hard enough on some epic caves.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      @laikapants: Probably the best MC “let’s play” vids out there, quite entertaining. Hah, you know you’re addicted to a game when you’re happy watching it as much as playing it.

  20. Butterbumps says:

    Watch this! It’s basically a guy playing his very first game of Minecraft (with a little foreknowledge from tutorials, etc). The first video or two serve as a pretty good introduction to what it’s all about. I’d also recommend watching the rest, as they’re pretty entertaining.

  21. Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

    Cheers, crafting-of-mine-dudes.

    P.

  22. Davee says:

    Very good news indeed!

    I wonder if this friend of his happens to be Rolf “Rolf” Jansson of Wurm Online-fame? Notch did code much (if not most) of the client-side part of Wurm a few years back. Probably not, since Rolf already has enough on his plate… It can’t be Wurm he is talking about as the side-developed-game either, since afaik that’s OneTooFree (Rolf’s business) property (or, erm, rights I guess), and Rolf has not mentioned anything about drastic development changes. Any thoughts on this?

    And oh, I have no idea why I haven’t gotten around to actually buy Minecraft yet, since I loved the demo. Will correct this ASAP.

  23. Clekisannnn says:

    It was a week ago.

    • Clekisannnn says:

      I thought it would never happen to me… That was a reply to someone upthread saying Notch’s talks with Valve were a long time ago.

  24. Muzman says:

    Are our favourite indie-game boosting journos doing a big write up on this story? (I mean Minecraft generally). It seems like a game that breaks most of the ‘common sense rules’ for being a popular game (from graphics to accessability), even as an indie. For it to be such a monster hit with little to no publicilty is pretty remarkable (and awesome).

  25. The Juice says:

    Minecraft stopped being fun when they came up with non-deletable blocks. Griefing in that game was the most fun I’ve had in years.

  26. Subutai says:

    For those who say the game (alpha) is too easy:
    1) the difficulty setting is bugged atm: in easy there are a lot more mobs than on normal and on high difficulty you rarely encounter hostile mobs
    2) just go out of your base to explore natural caverns. One tip: some caverns are simply gigantic and contain rediculous amounts of ores. Exploring those huge caves is the fastest way to get quality ores, but also a great way to get blown up, shot at and/or pushed into lava. Don’t complain about the game being easy if you stay inside your safe base mining, go explore!

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Subutai: As far as I’m aware, Notch intended for the difficulties to differ that way. I still don’t get it personally, hard just means there’s less mobs. Sure that also makes it a touch more difficult to procure some foods and rarer items, but I’d argue it already makes the game more long-winded than it currently is. But hey, secret Friday updates to the rescue (hopefully), now that Notch is back…

  27. Tycho says:

    If only the simple interface, highly interactive world and immersion of this could be somehow teamed up with dwarf fortress, it would be game of the century for me!

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Oh, Minecraft needs script-able objects, right? I can’t be the only one that thinks so.

      Then you’ll effectively have ZZT 3D. Oh yes.

      For now though, Redstone provides some interesting possibilities.

    • Torgen says:

      There were rumors that Notch was talking to Toady about making Minecraft able to read DF maps. Not play DF in Minecraft mode, but be able to walk around your DF map.

  28. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Pro’s Minecrafts going to get even better!

    Con’s Minecrafts going to get even better (so i’ll loose even more of my life to it).