Minecraft Is In Dire Straits

By Alec Meer on January 16th, 2012 at 5:55 pm.

Going to hell in a handcart, you mark my words

Mojang’s block-building and survival game is somehow making do with a mere twenty million users, they revealed recently. (20,127,16. No, wait, 20,127,17. I mean 20,127,18. I mean 20,127,19. Oh, you get the picture). 20 million? Pathetic. Chump change. I don’t know how they manage to stay afloat – I mean, all those Facebook game companies talk about having 180 million users or something like that, so that’s what Mojang should be aiming for. And yes, I’m completely sure those Facebook figures don’t actually mean “people who installed the game to their account, looked once then never came back because it was so boring” or “people who load it once a month because they clicked on the icon by mistake” or “people who played for about a week, until they realised it was a basically a scam that wanted them to to spend real money just to keep playing for longer than 17 seconds.” Yessir, those 180 million GenericVille users are real, daily, paying users, each and every one.

Speaking of which, just 4.7 million of those Minecraft users have paid up for the full version of the game (as opposed to the free Classic version), which is basically nothing. That’s only enough for Notch to afford about eighty new hats a day, which is more or less the same as being unable to to afford any hats at all.

So, I’m calling it: Mojang will go bust and close within the week. It was fun while it lasted, eh?

, .

90 Comments »

  1. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    What a shame.

  2. wccrawford says:

    Is it wrong that I’ve come to expect better than this from this site?

    Mojang’s customer count isn’t really news, and presenting it sarcastically isn’t funny. Or cute. Or even entertaining.

    Why was this posted?

    • wisnoskij says:

      I concur.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Because your mum asked me to.

    • psyk says:

      Slow news day and only some DRM is EVIL

    • skinlo says:

      Your mother can be very persuasive, Alec is right.

    • John Walker says:

      Hey, wccrawford and wisnoskij, shush.

    • xfxian says:

      Whoosh

    • DickSocrates says:

      Yes, it is wrong of you, Mr Pious Pants.

    • QualityJeverage says:

      Go away.

    • Hisui says:

      Quality responses by quality staff!

    • Kent says:

      No, he’s right. This isn’t exactly news. It’s like having the weather hitting the frontpage on your daily newspaper.

    • Quasar says:

      … Which is why you shouldn’t read the newspaper outside.

      Badoom-

      -waitforitwaitforit-

      -TISH

    • dangermouse76 says:

      I was entertained and am not upset. I am sending you a route map to falkirk.

    • lhzr says:

      ok, for everyone who didn’t get it, this was posted as a sarcastic reply to this: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?2616-Did-I-miss-a-big-change-at-RPS

      i’m sure of this.

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      Oh gee! Something that isn’t news on a blog that doesn’t only report news! Quick, to the complainmobile!

    • GenBanks says:

      The fact that you made the effort to write a complaint about this post seriously amazes me. This isn’t the bloody Guardian.

    • PostieDoc says:

      I like skittles.
      Not the yellow ones though, they are evil and taste of baby vomit.
      Not in a good way either.

    • Grygus says:

      Game diaries aren’t news, either. End-of-year rankings aren’t news. Sometimes posts are just there to entertain us. If you don’t like it, stick to CNN.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      If you don’t like the style of RPS reporting there are plenty of other gaming news sites that will cater to your needs.

      Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on your way out.

      PS. You don’t actually have to read all the articles you know – just pick and choose the ones you like the sound of. STFU about the rest.

    • Kent says:

      Isn’t it exactly what we’re doing? This is like bait and switch where they’re saying that Minecraft is going bad only to report that it is in fact not bad. It’s such a troll page, very unprofessional. Also the lot of you saying ‘take it or leave it’ sounds like 12 year old fanboys, or 48 year old virgin, xenophobic thugs from my home country, I mean come on!

    • sinelnic says:

      Why is there no indication of sarcasm in this discussion? Is this angst I’m starting to feel?

    • wodin says:

      complainmobile…I like it.

      What I can’t understand is why these things wind people up enough to post about it. Most likely the same types who write into points of view or the readers moans bit in the Radio Times. Like those who moan about a TV programme where I’d say you can turn the TV off or turn over I say here you don’t have to read the article or even come to the website, the interweb is a very large place with lots of stuff you can googlesurffind (a new word for you, see all is not lost you’ve come away from this article which you so quickly wrote off with a new word, it’s a long word aswell, though it sounds shit).

    • Dragon Master says:

      I actually WAS wondering how many people have bought minecraft, so this post actually has some usefulness for me. And Kent, if you actually fall for the news that Minecraft is going bad, you’re asking to be trolled.

    • MCM says:

      We used to mock Lum the Mad (in the old days, before brokentoys.org even) about certain stories being uninteresting by saying “slow news day?” And then one day he flipped out and said something like “I AM REPORTING ABOUT -video games-. Everyday is a “slow news day.”

      That said, this particular story is Mr. Meer at his worst. He can write well when he chooses to do so (see his most recent eurogamer review of SWTOR) but little pieces like this are too clever by half, and it does stand in the way “video games journalism” being anything more than “every day is a slow news day because this is all silliness about a silly hobby that ‘real grownups’ wouldn’t be caught dead around.”

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Alec made this post because there was a pun to be made. ‘Kay pumpkin?

    • Kent says:

      Once again: Just because one article annoys you doesn’t mean that you’re going to abandon the site so the take it or leave it argument doesn’t exactly belong here. Writing is cheap, so anyone can go and complain a few sentences of stuff that annoys them during the day. Why? Because we’re insanely bored and internet is a good place to vent our daily frustrations. Some of you would disagree but I don’t exactly care all that much. I’m too busy being pissed over that are annoying me and I’m trying to vent myself on you who are annoyed by me. It’s a circle of life kind of thing.

    • Klaus says:

      I am abandoning Kent’s comments.

    • MCM says:

      Pun? Where?

      Also, dismissing Zynga games the way he does is the sort of thing that requires evidence and reasoned argument. Unless you do it sarcastically.

    • Jambe says:

      I love this site, its staff, and many of its commentators.

      That is all.

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      @Kent

      Is that really your arguement? You get to be shitty on this article because you like to just be shutty sometimes? Wait. . . Is this a gag? Are you trolling us?

      Oh! Is this martin coxall? John said he trolls on here sometimes.

    • rayne117 says:

      I don’t agree with what the two first people said but, “Oh gee! Something that isn’t news on a blog that doesn’t only report news! Quick, to the complainmobile!” is the stupidest damn argument of all time ever. And it always comes up when someone says “Slow news day huh?” Go to Kotaku for a second and you’ll see 100 people saying that same damn thing. It doesn’t mean anything. “on a blog that doesn’t only report news,” how is this Minecraft player count not news? It’s the very definition of news. The distinction here is: Some people don’t think it’s very important or entertaining news.

      And that’s just fine. People have opinions on things, that’s a fact of life.

    • Mattrex says:

      Well, I didn’t have an issue with the article, per se. But whenever someone brings up something like this… well, with those kinds of “shut up is why” replies, the site’s contributors end up looking very thin-skinned, at best; hostile and insecure, at worst.

    • Machinations says:

      Some might just be sick of the uncritical nature of all reporting concerning Minecraft. I do assume dissenting opinions are still valid?

    • Prime says:

      Feel free to ignore Minecraft related posts, then, Machinations. If it’s a game you hate, and you clearly don’t like it at all, your participation in it’s threads comes across as something like masochism. I love it for what it is AND for what it will become in the future. It is what it is, and people love it. LOTS of people love it. It’s sad that you can’t see what we do, and even sadder that you need to rage at it/us for this disparity, but you are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

    • TWeaK says:

      I just want back all the time I’ve just spent reading all these posts where people are arguing about something completely pointless on a site that’s run by people who do as they see fit (usually to the delight of most of the readership).

      I’d also like to get back the time I’ve spent writing this.

      Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick+

  3. King Toko says:

    “23.23% also bought the game. Extrapolating, we find that 76.77% of the internet will register for things they don’t want” Sure they do Notch.

  4. zairekaboom says:

    Good riddance. Minecraft wasn’t fun anyway.

    • Machinations says:

      Finally somebody says what everybody must have been thinking.

      This is not a game, its a sandbox, or maybe a half finished game, but it’s not a game in the traditional sense. Yeah, they added an end boss, but it still isn’t a game. It also is not very fun.

      Also, Notch’s attitude towards code obfuscation, not to mention the as-yet-unsettled questions of where the original Minecraft codebase came from (cough Infiniminer cough) and then his cash in on suckers at MineCon (seriously, how pathetic can you get)

      I still laugh when I think of MineCon and Notch’s big unveil being a crappy Magic knockoff ‘Scrolls’ no-one cares about. I’m sure the fanboys were thrilled..

      Edit: You may be sarcastic, I am not. The love affair with minecraft will hopefully be over soon and people can talk about real indies, like Dwarf Fortress, that are not merely interested in cashing out a quick buck.

    • Prime says:

      Yes, that’s right. We’re all secretly hating the ‘game’ but are all – to a man – afraid to speak out in case nobody loves us any more. *rolls eyes*

      You don’t like the game, fine. But please allow others to enjoy what is demonstrably – i.e: 20 million players – a remarkably enjoyable and fun game that clearly neither of you ‘gets’.

  5. greywulf says:

    I remember when they were just Jang.

  6. yutt says:

    Good grief, I’m sick of these articles biased against Mojang.

  7. Vinraith says:

    I wonder how many of those 4.7 million still have ever played the release version. I know I haven’t.

    I got my $15 out of it and then some in the alpha and early beta, so I’m certainly not complaining, but the charm’s worn off and it’ll never be the survival game I was hoping for.

    • westyfield says:

      I haven’t played it since shortly after it entered the beta stage.

    • Hodge says:

      I have. To be fair though, that has a lot to do with having a private server set up with some friends.

    • Carra says:

      I haven’t. Played some in alpha, then again when they added pistons. I’ll probably play some more in the future though.

      It’s one of those rare games that I keep going back to to play some more.

    • vivlo says:

      “to to play some more. ”

      “to to afford any hats at all. ”

      I see that precise kind of typo (repeating a cunjonction word or whatever, im not good english grammarian) occuring more and more often. Is this some sign of the evil threat Internet makes lingering upon our heads ? Will this increase more and more, to a non-return point where we won’t won’t be able to to not repeat repeat ? i’m just just wondering

  8. Gap Gen says:

    It does depend whether Mojang can make a second hit, or at least generate a revenue stream from Minecraft’s popularity. 4M sales is nice, but it’s a lump of money rather than a continuing revenue stream, and if they’re expanding into a studio then 4M sales might not be enough to sustain the company. I’m don’t think their next titles will be anywhere near as successful as Minecraft. I’m sure they’ve figured all this out, though.

  9. Mctittles says:

    Only eight hats?
    Although Notch is open (advertising) about the sales he gets on his site, there are many more revenue streams coming from minecraft. He’s used contextual ads and marketed products on his blog for years now, ads on his forum and the like, sells merch, and more; not to mention the money raked in from advertisers and tickets for his event to celebrate raising the price of his game :).

    • frymaster says:

      “ads on his forum and the like”

      mojang don’t run any forums. The “official” (though these days, Notch doesn’t actually read them at all) forums are now owned by Curse, and used to just be owned by j.random fan.

      Similarly, I can’t see ads on his blog, and I don’t believe he gets comission for stuff he writes there.

      Spot on about the merch, though; I’d guess it’s a significant money-stream for them, though I have no idea about the proportion between that and minecraft proper.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      And the launch party ran at a loss. They said they were okay with that.

  10. Eich says:

    Erm I dunno if there are like 1000 trolls here, but 4 Million sold copies is like on par with MW3 on PC!? I would kill for that “lump” of money ^^

    • Gap Gen says:

      Hmm, a fair point. And Mojang is *much* smaller than Infinity Ward.

  11. Xocrates says:

    It’s a well known fact that unless you can afford at least ninety hats and seventy two monocles a day you are no better off than a lowly peasant.

  12. Beelzebud says:

    Did the point to this post just go over my head or what? Why is this “news”?

    • Unaco says:

      Major Indie success story, and amazingly well known PC game, breaches 20,000,000 ‘users’ over the weekend. Quite a major milestone for quite a major piece chunk lump BLOCK! of PC gaming.

    • Machinations says:

      Love affair with Mojang.

      Cobalt looks cool, as long as they keep Notch away from it. The guy is a pretty unscrupulous hack.

  13. MondSemmel says:

    “(20,127,16. No, wait, 20,127,17. I mean 20,127,18. I mean 20,127,19. Oh, you get the picture). 20 million?”

    Am I seriously the first person to point out that this notation neither makes sense (commas usually separate three digits) nor, more importantly, actually means twenty plus millions?
    (Physics student and pedant. Couldn’t let that slide.)

    • somini says:

      But you should, since it’s an inclined plane with no friction…

    • buzzmong says:

      Yes, it’s lacking a digit isn’t it?

    • dontnormally says:

      Bravo, somini.

    • BisonHero says:

      I saw the notation and assumed that British people don’t know how to count properly (for the record, I’m Canadian). Maybe leaving off the zeroes in front is some weird eccentricity of their written English. Sort of like how some British people are still using the definition of “billion” where it means “a million millions” instead of “a thousand millions”.

  14. mbp says:

    Don’t know if it common knowledge or not but Minecraft has become an enormous hit among school children. Don’t know if they get the paid version or not but I know that my 10 year old regularly comes home with Minecraft stories. I get a certain amount of Dad cred for having “discovered” the game and bought her an account way back before it was famous.

  15. Bluerps says:

    Actually, I think Notch buys thousands upon thousands of hats each day. There is a constant procession of delivery trunks which dump them on the lawn behind his house. The resulting mountain of headwear, dubbed “Hattjättekåtan berg” by the locals, grows by 2.1 meters each day and has begun to be a serious problem for the inhabitants of Stockholm.

  16. MythArcana says:

    It’s a great game, it’s always been an incredible way to harness your creativity, but the game still feels miserably incomplete to me at version 1.1. The End seems like it was tacked on as a quick panic-induced plan to rush this game to the “finish” line for MineCon. The same goes for the Nether which should have been a separate adventure in itself, but fails to even give a reason to visit there except to get some free fire blocks.

    Mojang forged this pre-order alpha marketing plan we are seeing all over the Internet today, but I really wasn’t too impressed where it left off and how the whole thing fizzled out.

    • aerozol says:

      It’s not meant to be complete yet. Just finally a ‘release’ version, probably to give Notch some closure and the opportunity to move on, as well as generating some more interest.
      I don’t think the point of Minecraft was ever to ‘finish’ it.

    • olemars says:

      All software is finished through quick panic-induced plans.

    • Machinations says:

      The point of minecraft was to rip off some open source code (inifiniminer), obfuscate it then claim it as your own.

      You know, good for Notch, but this guy does not deserve to be on a pedestal. He exploited someone else’s work and passed it off as his own. End of story.

  17. Klaus says:

    This is quality stuff. I am sated for the day.

  18. wererogue says:

    Oh Notch. Surely you must realise that a sizeable proportion of your users weigh less than 70kg?

    • Lionmaruu says:

      I surely think a way more sizable portion of their users weigh WAY MORE than 70kg lol
      I’m about 100kg, but you be sure these extras kilograms are all muscle :)

    • vecordae says:

      I can assure you that the majority of my weight (in kilograms, no less) is comprised of mild antagonism masquerading as literal-minded cordiality.

  19. wodin says:

    My daughter loves it..I seem to say this alot on here.

  20. sinelnic says:

    While reading the first paragraph this mental image started to form, of this little guy poking a huge castle of bullshit.

  21. digitalfoundry says:

    Minecraft stinks and Notch can smoke a fat one, much like himself. What a retarded game, it cant die soon enough.

  22. Shiny says:

    I first read this as “Dire Straits in Minecraft” and thus was under the illusion that this wasn’t just some worthless Minecraft stat masquerading as a news story – not that those ever show up on RPS, mind you.

    Imagine my disappointment when I realized that telegraph roads were not, in fact, being added.

  23. Fadobo says:

    Nice way to put the 20 million news, made it quite an entertaining read. But not even the Facebook companies claim that their users are all “paying” users. Commonly you say 1-2% pay in a Facebook game, which would equal to 3,6 Million paying users. The average you make per user might also most likely be lower than 15€ on average, but that might depend on the game. So there you have it: Minecraft officially makes more money than a 180 million user facebook-game.

  24. amorpheous says:

    If Minecraft becomes a hat-making game, Notch will be able to procure as many hats as he wants to. That’ll make all his users redundant! Yaaaaaaaaaay!

  25. horsemedic says:

    Does anyone verify these sale figures (is that even possible?) or do the gaming sites just take Mojang’s word?

  26. Nallen says:

    20,127,16… 20 million?

    Alec please never do anything with money or maths or…look just stay away from numbers.

    <3

  27. Zakk Scar says:

    I don’t see the problem here? So the game sold a bunch, is that seriously a problem with you guys?