Minecraft Enters Million-Sellers Club

By John Walker on January 12th, 2011 at 11:25 pm.

Outside Notch's house, this afternoon.

Minecraft has sold a million copies. This is a game that’s only just entered Beta, that comes out later this year. A million. PC exclusive. All the money going directly to one very happy developer.

A million.

__________________

« | »

.

124 Comments »

  1. SAeN says:

    Not a shame

  2. The Innocent says:

    Way to go, Notch!

  3. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    I played Minecraft before it was cool. *hair flick*

  4. Urthman says:

    Whatever is the opposite of nerdrage. PC games are great.

    • karry says:

      Games are. Is Minecraft a game ? I think it barely qualifies as such. I think it barely qualifies as entertainment. And yet there we have it, a million copies sold. Oh well, a million flies and all that…wasnt some kind of deer hunting game the bestseller PC game in USia for many consequent years ? So no surprise there, you’re weird, weird nation.

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      Meh meh meh. Look at me, I’m Karry and I didn’t like minecraft. Woo woo woo. My fun is better than your fun. Meh meh meh.

    • simonh says:

      If Minecraft isn’t a game, LEGOs are not toys.

    • adonf says:

      nerdgasm ?

    • Rich says:

      [Please do not feed the trolls]

    • taikonaut says:

      “If Minecraft isn’t a game, LEGOs are not toys.”

      LEGOS is not a word. The plural of Lego is Lego. *foams at mouth*

    • Teddy Leach says:

      It’s like sheep. The plural of sheep is not ‘sheeps’, no matter how awesome that would sound. Same with fish. SAME WITH LEGO.

    • Frandroid says:

      Except that the plural of fish is fishes… sometimes. ;o)

    • Enikuo says:

      LEGO is not plural. LEGO is an adjective, modifying nouns such as brick, kit, toys, etc. But really, who cares? Sheesh.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      LEGO is what I want you to do with my Eggo

  5. Navagon says:

    A million mines crafted! Congratulations, Notch!

  6. Serenegoose says:

    Never played it, never likely to play it, but still incredibly pleased for the guy. He deserves it. :)

  7. Tei says:

    Greats news for people like me that loves sandbox games, hope some game dev’s take this success as a hint.

    • PFlute says:

      Minecraft’s breakout success sort of has me curious what a big name studio could do with this kind of concept. Kind of hard to ignore a million copies sold.

      “Muck it up quite a bit” seems to be one of the distinct possibilities.

      In any case I can’t wait for expanded mod support. ‘Grats, Notch!

    • Navagon says:

      There have already been some blatant Minecraft rip offs. Nothing from any major publishers. I doubt they get it, personally. They’ll probably shrug it off as an anomaly and go back to making linear manshooters.

    • MarkN says:

      What’s more it’s a sandbox game where you CAN actually make virtual sandcastles, if you so desire. Genre title and etymology in perfect harmony. Double bonus winner!

    • bob_d says:

      @ Navagon: Well, to be fair, this sort of sandbox game doesn’t scale up into a AAA game; in some important ways it’s fundamentally different from the sorts of games that big developers are doing. I suspect a lot of AAA developers are playing it and saying, “yeah, this is cool, but it doesn’t apply to what I’m doing,” and they’re partially correct.

    • Hikkikomori says:

      @ bob_d
      Hey ho! They’re also partially wrong! ;)

    • Navagon says:

      @ bob_d

      In other words these companies only understand spending infinitely more to see a far lower return.

      Like the dinosaur…

    • mrjackspade says:

      EDIT: reply system fail.

    • afarrell says:

      LittleBigPlanet, though of course that doesn’t count for some reason that escapes me.

  8. Fumarole says:

    More power to him.

  9. Shadram says:

    Amazing, and well deserved.

  10. Maykael says:

    In the year when Tony Hawk: Shred and Guitar Hero MMXXXII sold together max. 10,000 copies, an independent innovative title developed by roughly one guy still in it’s pre-release stage sold 1,000,000. Something is right in the world.

    As one of these million people, I call out to all the others: If we manage to do this to other 10 euro wonders like this at least once a year, the future is quite bright for our platform of choice. Exciting times indeed.

    • DiamondDog says:

      I’m right with you on that. People can bitch about CoD all they like but it’s games like Tony Hawk: Shred that provoke genuine anger from me.

      It’s just the worst kind of market-led cash-in where a bunch of suits looked at the success of peripherals with music games and wanted a piece. Then after the first game turns out to be awful they spew out a sequel no-one wants because they have to justify the lump of plastic they tried to sell everyone. Even worse they try to claim that in fact Shred is aimed at kids anyway, as if they are somehow less discerning. Just such an awful and utterly transparent attempt at a cash-in. Urgh.

      Anyway, with regard to Minecraft, yes it’s brilliant that an indie can sell this well and it’s very much deserved.

  11. mattfaulkner says:

    Paypal is pretty happy also.

    • Shadram says:

      Still, it’s cheaper than making a deal with a publisher. It’s not like he needs a Marketing department or anything.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Shadram: That’s faulty logic. It’s like saying being raped is OK, because it’s still better than being killed.
      Still doesn’t make it good. It’s still horrible.
      And so is PayPal.

  12. Davee says:

    Grats, Notch! You earned it.

    Never thought a budget indie-game could generate this much popularity this quickly. I guess it shows that you don’t need a big developer studio with an enormous budget to make A-title games after all. Just a good idea and lots of hard work. Indie-games is where the good stuff is at nowadays! Go PC-gaming!

  13. The Army of None says:

    Wait, so how many did he sell again?

  14. HeroJez says:

    I hate that Notch bastard now he’s rich. Where’s my DeLorean… I’m going back in time to stop this from ever taking place.

    As soon as my ping reaches 88ms you’re going to see some serious shit.

  15. Skeez187 says:

    Let’s not forget to add this is 100% digitally distributed.

  16. KingCathcart says:

    Great news! Now if only there was some way to share this story via a popular social media site.

    Oh wait, look at the shiny buttons.

  17. Hikkikomori says:

    Jolly good news! Well deserved.

  18. HeroJez says:

    Incidentally, it’s weird how these ‘achieve/build/make’ something games are so popular. When you think about how many fatties (and likeable people) must play computer games like this but absolutely abhor the idea of doing it or anything like it (gardening, improving, renovating, building) in real life.

    Obviously there are hurdles – money, land, reality, etc – but still, I wonder how many people have planted loads of flowers outside their pretend house when their garden is a shit hole…. Just a thought.

    :)

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Not sure it has anything to do with “do virtually what you can’t/won’t do IRL”. It has more to do with the way people would play lego with their kid (or so they say), assemble/paint miniatures or models, etc…

      I’m pretty sure most people approaching minecraft for the “craft” part does it the same way they approach those hobbies, it’s something at your disposal, creative yet funny, etc.

      Myself, when I tried minecraft I started with a “ok, let’s make a mine”… “okay now a few more levels, just to look for minerals” … “Hmmm, now that I have those levels, I might as well make them good looking” … “Damn, I just got an epiphany, I’m gonna make a Durin Stairs to connect all this shit. That’ll be awesome” ad lib

      It’s more the inner child than the inner lazy bastard who made the success of Minecraft, imho.

    • Fwiffo says:

      That and the fact the council doesn’t give planning permission for floating throne rooms in the shape of a skull with lava pouring out the eye sockets.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      So sad, but oh so true.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Some of us have full time JOBS and would rather make a mountain into a Mountainhome that would make dwarf kings weep tears of joy, rather than try to get the tulips to grow a couple inches higher this year.

      Oh yeah and IT’S THE MIDDLE OF WINTER IRL!!!!!

      P.S. Also I am allergic to grass. No joke. I wish I was joking, so I could go outside and not get a rash whenever my neighbors are mowing.

  19. Swanky says:

    Even the spam has it right. Very good web, indeed.

  20. ts061282 says:

    I disagree with those saying this success isn’t applicable to AAA. It’s fairly easy to imagine Minecraft with 100x more man-hours put into it.

    • mrjackspade says:

      Christ thought the reply system was working. Comment that appeared above was meant to be here:
      I don’t see how an AAA minecraft would improve on the original.
      Better graphics? Totally not needed, and probably detrimental to the gameplay because you’d have to introduce more complicated constructing and mining mechanics (not blocks).
      Better multiplayer? Possibly, but improvements to survival mode are in the works along with a possible greater emphasis on the pvp and pvmonster aspect of the game.
      Other than that…adding more options for construction? More materials? Just a few days work for Notch on this current build.
      No I think Minecraft is so near to perfect that any similar attempt by a different developer will either be a total rip off, or a complete brick :).

    • PFlute says:

      @mrjackspade: Well, the game could look better without actually changing the block scheme; the current default tileset isn’t exactly mind blowing in terms of readability and eye-pleasure (Teehee). There are also a lot of visual effects that I don’t think would hurt, at least.

      There’s actually a lot of fun directions/modes you could go with multiplayer, I think, that would take quite a lot of work for a small team.

      And I think getting new materials in Minecraft, especially new interactions, isn’t THAT easy for Notch.

      I think if a large team made an engine like Minecraft and spent a year polishing everything with a layer of professional spit-shine and just creating fun content, we’d probably have a damn good game on our hands. Even if it wasn’t, say, the best thing ever.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      What PFlute said.
      Also, I’m still hoping on Notch adding some kind of LUA scripting and server side mods so that the community can keep working on it after the release date he’s specified. I mean, having an Oblivion type mode with spells/abilities and magic items and such with random spawning dungeons of varying difficulties would be amazing. And that’s just something I came up with in half a minute.
      My vision of a AAA Minecraft would be Oblivion with digging.

    • opel says:

      More mechanics. Think drawbridges moving smoothly. Wheels to make custom designed vehicles. Functional custom boats. Sharable blueprints for all of those. Less lag. I could think of plenty of things this game could do with an actual development team.

    • Jhoosier says:

      @opel: I often wish that it were possible to do things like that, but I think what makes it so appealing is the simplicity of it all. Sure, you can do more complex things with redstone and rails, but that all comes from the basics. It seems to me if you make it more complex, you risk driving away more people.

      Having just written that, however, I simultaneously convinced myself of your argument. Perhaps there would be a way to make those very complex structures, but semi-hidden from beginners who are not ready for/don’t want them.

    • afarrell says:

      In a way it’s odd to see better graphics = higher sales as a PC thing, as it seems more suited to consoles, where you can guarantee that the customers will have the same rig as the developer. On PCs, any rise in the specs will reduce the potential playerbase: I assume that a version of Minecraft that wouldn’t run on, say, an EEE, wouldn’t have hit the million yet.

    • Dinger says:

      Well, here’s how you’d scale up (maybe even to AAA):

      First, write it in a faster language than java. Contrary to what afarrell suggests, Minecraft does not run on an EEE PC.
      Second, fully functional Multiplayer from the get-go. Multiplayer is hard and expensive. Notch has hinted at a lot of things for MP: the ability to switch any Single-player map to SMP on the fly, game modes (can you imagine a 64-player CTF game in survival mode, where teams can import structures, or spend a few hours building them, before having to locate the enemy’s flag and extract it?), weather, seasons.
      Third, tutorials.
      Fourth, make it all run well. 50% of development time dedicated to new stuff? That might work in Alpha, but 80% of the time should be to making stuff work and adding polish. I love new stuff, but we’re talking here about a million-selling game laden with frame rate chunders, some sort of memory leak, and a nasty black-screen crash bug.

      Funny, most of these things Notch plans to add now that he has a dev team. As long as Mojang keeps pulling down 10,000 Euros/day revenue, Minecraft may very well end up being a AAA title.

    • afarrell says:

      Well, that’s what I get for talking out of my arse.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I stopped bothering with DF the minute I realized I was just playing Dungeon Keeper(admit it to yourself already..when you are generating x times y tiles optimized rooms, with future content and use in mind, you are playing DK) with all the needs/desires being a frickton more spelled out, OCDishly complicated and graphically abstracted.

      So of course they are not the same. As I wrote, there is that extra layer of Big-Bang-Theory-Sheldon-Over-The-Top-OCD to everything(=> which I am implying some people find to be a good thing), but in essence I just had to realize that what I really, truly wanted was a Dungeon Keeper 3 that had some new extra layers of detail and flexibility to it compared to predecessors.

  21. Sarkhan Lol says:

    I know this is a feelgood story and all, but it ultimately just makes me want to kill myself for not inventing some internet thing and being a millionaire.

  22. pipman3000 says:

    do you think that df guy sees stories like this and just cries?

    • PFlute says:

      I think Toady’s always known DF could stand to be a lot more accessible.

      Of course that might be the fact that stings the most.

    • geldonyetich says:

      If Toady cared about how much money he was making on Dwarf Fortress, he’d probably start by trying to charge for it. Far as I know, the game’s been donation driven since day one. Hopefully enough people tossed him some change so as to make that a viable approach.

    • LoopyDood says:

      Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good couple of hundred thousand people have tried Dwarf Fortress. He does make a good living just off donations, and that says something to me.

    • Matzerath says:

      His renaissance will come when he decides to finally fix-up the interface. But then again, like France, he may just like it that way.

    • Urael says:

      What Matzerath says. Toady only has himself to blame, relying on that pointlessly cruel interface. It’s akin to eating cake full of broken glass.

    • Torgen says:

      I’ve often pondered if it would even be possible for a 3rd party to build a 3D graphical front end to Dwarf Fortress. It would of course break horribly on every update, and take massive man hours to add the things that are added to DF.

      I can’t see Toady being in the position to implement it himself, and can’t imagine any VC putting money towards expanding Toady’s staff.

    • Jhoosier says:

      “I can’t see Toady being in the position to implement it himself, and can’t imagine any VC putting money towards expanding Toady’s staff.”

      I hear there’s a Swedish guy who’s come into a bit of cash recently…

    • Lightbulb says:

      I think the best possible thing to happen to DF would be for Toady to cease any and all involvement and give it to the community.

      I’d would absolutely LOVE to play DF with a even halfway decent interface. Even if it was just made consistent: this menu is mouse drive, this menu is number pad driven, this menu is arrow key drive, this menu is esdx driven, ^%^$^%!

      Its actually not THAT bad to play but after a few hours I realised I was getting annoyed with the interface and a few little niggles. Oh well maybe Goblin Fort will get better…

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I heard there were some people working on a “mouse” implementation. It’d sit on top of DF itself and turn your mouse-clicks into their equivalent keyboard shortcuts etc as I understand it (i.e. it didn’t need access to the DF code).

      There’s also Goblin Camp, which is some other guy’s attempt to make something similar to DF, but built with a proper UI from the start (e.g. it has right-click to bring up dig/etc options, and drag-select to select an area to apply said command). Last I checked it didn’t have Z-depth, or the full range of options as DF, but as an idea it’s something to check up on occasionally… It’s still ASCII graphics though.

  23. dux says:

    I remember back when Minecraft had 100K sales, and people were saying it was just a craze and the sales would tail off before the game even entered beta. Those were the days…

  24. po says:

    1 million.

    To put that in a bit more perspective:

    12 million WoW subscribers.
    4.7 million copies of Cataclysm sold.
    From a company that has a huge marketing and advertising budget.

    • Rhin says:

      To put that into perspective: Per Month

    • Torgen says:

      @Rhin: Now divide those WoW numbers by the number of people (including admin and marketing) involved in producing WoW, and I’m pretty sure it’s less than sales (in units and cash) per person in the same amount of time that the one-man show of Notch sold 1 million copies.

    • simonh says:

      No way, you’re saying all Blizzard employees don’t make $10 million a year?

    • Hematite says:

      To put that in perspective, I met a girl the other day who, as the start of a conversation, said “I’ve been playing this game called Minecraft”.

      It’s unprecedented.

  25. bill says:

    So who is playing it and how are they finding out about it?

    I can’t work out how non hardcore gamers would get to hear about it… except word of mouth. But that’s pretty slow and I can’t see it generating 1M sales.

    • Wulf says:

      I could – if it were on every gaming site and forum, everywhere, everywhen since its inception.

      Which it is.

    • Jerricho says:

      It actually got a mention in New Scientist not so long ago. So I’m sure other media have been running with the story.

  26. riktikt says:

    When you look at it more globally economic, maybe the non-Indie idea is better.
    Notch creates a game and makes a lot of money from 1 million sells, but with WoW much more people earn a living. It’s a great american Swedish dream of course, and I’m glad for Notch.

    I do however enjoy Indie games and creative ideas should always be stimulated.
    One thing I do sometimes wonder about is if we aren’t being decadent, complaining about games on our computer not being good enough, while people in most parts of the world enjoy themselves with much simpler amusement, which isn’t as resource consuming.
    But well…as long as there is a market for people who want to play computer games, companies will make them and indies will respond for them…

    • jeremypeel says:

      When you look at every other indie developer ever, however, decadence is a pretty laughable term to apply to the whole thing. It’s almost like claiming independent greengrocers are like greedy mad Sultans for not just biting the bullet and joining up at Tesco.

  27. jiminitaur says:

    Doesn’t change the fact that its a boring, crap game.

  28. agent47 says:

    wooooo

  29. Tunips says:

    Surely this is a strong candidate for the new “ALL OF THE MONEY ALL OF IT” tag.

  30. cpy says:

    I don’t know what’s up with this game but i feel i didn’t buy during alpha for bargain price, DAMN!
    I still don’t know why i would want such a game.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I bought it and I still don’t know why I would want such a game. I think, similar to Natural Selection 2, I’m just waiting for it to be closer to a complete experience (and to stop crashing). But this news is awesome. It seems like something of the current Zeitgeist but there’s plenty of reason for that, most of which is to do with how well received it is and enjoyed by so many. And unlike World of Warcraft, it would seem that it can happen in two places at once, what with the recent news of Amnesia: The Criminal Projective doing well as well (well).

  31. The Dude says:

    What a shame.

  32. Jonathan says:

    I tried the free version and just didn’t get it, but I bought it on the last day of Alpha because I’m a skinflint and didn’t want to pay for it at a higher price. Then I learned the basics of crafting. Then I didn’t play anything else ever again.

    ~£9 very well spent.

  33. mbp says:

    My experience echo’s @Jonathan’s My first 20 minutes were “This is fug ugly, what’s all the fuss about?”. Then I built my first house and suddenly the joy of creation grabbed me. I was hooked.

    I even bought two copies so I could legally set up a multiplayer server for myself and my daughter to play together.

  34. Sander Bos says:

    I thought it was very interesting to look at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_PC_video_games
    Very surprising to find games listed in Minecraft’s vicinity. Some I would have expected to sell a lot more (Quake, Sim City 2K), others at which I was surprised they made 1M (The Witcher, Zoo Tycoon, American McGee’s Alice, Monopoly?).
    Of course a lot is related to when the game was released and how many PCs were out there (still, 7th Guest with 2 million, it can be good to be out on a format early I guess).
    Oh, and Deer Hunter as mentioned by karry above is in there too.
    [Edit: Hmmm, not sure about the quality of this Wikipedia list on second thought. Populous with 4 million but e.g. Prince of Persia and the original SimCity (all from 1989) not in the list at all, that seems unlikely]

  35. McDan says:

    I haven’t seen anyone else say this yet so…Minecraft really seems to be a notch above the rest.

    • Sander Bos says:

      That comment obviously took a lot of craft-manship.
      I wonder how many other bad puns could be mined from this story.

    • Sassenach says:

      You’d have to dig deep to find them.

    • The Tupper says:

      You guys and your terrible puns are just the pits, man.

  36. Jerricho says:

    So does this mean Notche crafted his own Money Hat?

    That should be craftable in-game.

  37. Meat Circus says:

    Notch, can I be your gold-digging man-wife?

  38. RegisteredUser says:

    Anyone want to bet that the second million(or at least half of it) of copies will now mainly be generated via the hype that comes from “The Indie hit that sold over a million copies!!!111″?

    I find it truly amazing that there is a tide-over point in some things that makes them self-runners due to human behavior/psychology/habit rather than anything else.

    Interest being generated out of interest……ohhh, if only my monies would be able to make babies, too.

  39. Michael Hoss says:

    Now THAT SHOWED US!

  40. rocketman71 says:

    Glad to contribute

  41. thesundaybest says:

    Bought it because after reading everything here on it I knew that I’d want to play it, someday. Too busy catching up with other games to get into it yet, but very excited.

  42. Calabi says:

    And imagine when he releases it or gives it some proper advertising. Its not the end he’s likely to double it if he puts the effort in.