Sad News: VG247 Editor Won’t Be Eating His Trousers

By Alec Meer on February 5th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

Denied :(

How we had hoped to see Pat Garratt enjoying a hearty feast of broiled denim and shallow-fried zipper, but it was not to be. The editor of VG247 last year swore to eat his own trousers in the event Minecraft man Markus ‘Notch’ Persson made good on his talk of funding a sequel to Double Fine’s Psychonauts. Alas, Persson has recently confessed that such a thing is not currently possible/desirable, as Double Fine’s estimated $18 million budget for the game was beyond even his mighty means (or, at least, what he considered to be a lucrative investment of his mighty means).

Network Network spotted a Reddit thread in which Notch fessed up to the sad news (about not being able to fund Psychonauts, not about the trousers thing):

“I somewhat naively thought “a couple of million” was two million. I had no doubt in my mind that a Psychonauts 2 would earn that money back easily.
Turns out they wanted 18 million dollars, haha. I don’t have the time at the moment to even try to get educated enough to make an eighteen million dollar deal. Perhaps in some distant future when I’m no longer trying to make games, I could get into angel investing. I’ve made one private investment into a game so far, at 100k, and it’s frankly a lot more work than I thought.”

Hah! I eat 18 million for breakfast. 18 million bacterial microbes, that is, because my toothbrush is probably kept far too close to my toilet.

Oh well. With Double Fine’s star in such ascendancy at the moment, I’m almost sure they could make PS2 happen if they really, really wanted to. They’ve got plenty on their plate already though: let’s see ‘em make good on some of 2012′s mega-promises before anything else happens.

However, it appears Notch really does have all the money, but he’s as surprised as the rest of us are.

Also: I’m so glad I never bet Pat back, or I’d be sitting down to a trouser stew right now.

Note for our post-colonial readers: trousers are ‘pants’ in your perverse lexicon. ‘Pants’ over here means your undercrackers.

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69 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    When Notch first said it was outside his means, this was admittedly back when Minecraft hadn’t yet been released on the 360. He raked in 100mil this past year alone on a single, old game. He could probably afford it now.

    • Jorum says:

      It sounds like it isn’t so much the money itself, as the amount of legal and business “stuff” involved in lending someone that amount of money.

      • meepmeep says:

        If only there were ‘lawyers’, ‘accountants’ and ‘fund managers’ one could hire to arrange this ‘stuff’.

        • TCM says:

          Those have their own costs too, you know. Time and money both.

          • meepmeep says:

            A Due Diligence on a project investment of that size would be in the order of $100k, and say same again for the legal handling of the deal thereafter if he went through with it. Notch himself would only have to a) commission the work and then b) decide based on the summary returned to him. A few days each. Very rough numbers, but indicative. If legal and accounting costs/time were prohibitive to investment, then there would be no economy or jobs.

          • InternetBatman says:

            There would be no economy or jobs is a bit extreme.

          • kelseypaul1 says:

            If you think Clifford`s story is really great…, last pay cheque my boy frends dad worked and got paid $6122 putting in a thirteen hour week from home and they’re best friend’s aunt`s neighbour was doing this for 8-months and broght in over $6122 in there spare time from there laptop. follow the guidelines from this web-site. Read about it

    • TCM says:

      That’s pretty frigging optimistic.

      You cannot just take twenty million dollars from your business, give it to another business, and say ‘make a game with this’. That’s a surefire way to go very broke, very fast, not to mention get all kinds of accountants really, really pissed off.

      Nobody — NOBODY — in the world who is capable of making that kind of money will ever invest money where there is a very low chance of a return on that investment, regardless of love or otherwise.

      • adonf says:

        It’s not his business money, USD 100M is his personal income from licensing Minecraft to Mojang. Wouldn’t you spend 20% of your annual income on a pet project if you could afford it ?

        • TCM says:

          Not if I wasn’t controlling every aspect of it, no.

          If I were putting up twenty frigging percent of my income (which is hardly a small amount, percentagewise), I’d want to have direct involvement, and complete control over how it was being spent. Since I don’t want to do that, I wouldn’t invest that much in anything.

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            Diziet Sma says:

            Damn you TCM with all your logic and your common sense and … and.. damn.

          • Sic says:

            Honestly, if I had near endless amounts of money in my hands, literally, like Notch has, I would probably spend a substantial amount on projects like these.

            It’s not like Double Fine is some random company without any merits whatsoever. They’re a respectable developer who consistently produces quality games.

            I would, obviously, want to sit in on things, have meetings and plan things out economically, but I wouldn’t have any qualms about spending my money in this fashion.

            Having that amount of spending money means you also have more money than you will ever need for personal necessities (or indeed luxuries). In other words, why do you even care? Outside of spending the money on something a bit more humanitarian, I don’t see why there would be a problem using a substantial amount on whatever you desire. Your using parts instead of actual figures is just a way to disguise the fact that no matter if you spend almost all your money, you’re still filthy rich.

          • TCM says:

            The quickest way to turn near endless amounts of money into zero money is to invest it willy nilly in personal vanity projects.

            You can do a lot more good with that kind of money — and as long as you maintain a positive balance, your ‘near endless’ cash becomes ‘endless’, limited only by how much you have on hand at once, and what is smart to invest in.

            Nobody sits around on their piles of money, it gets used, it gets invested, spent, donated, and taxed. You can do a lot more with it than pour it into a vanity project. Double Fine are an excellent company, with an excellent staff, who have a little bit of a problem with their high budgeted games bombing. Consistently. Even when they get good press.

            (note I am speaking as a broke 23 year old with approximately zero income)

          • MrLebanon says:

            If PS2 was successful, and Notch was to negotiate some pretty-penny returns.. the 20Mil could turn into another 100Mil+

            It is nontheless a very risky move

          • malkav11 says:

            It would be a terrible investment -unless- his goal was simply to be able to play a Psychonauts sequel. $20 million-ish would be a pretty, um, remarkable amount of money to spend on one game, but if you can afford it (and someone whose net worth is currently in the nine digit range can afford it even if it’s not probably a wise use of their money), maybe it’d be worth it. I probably wouldn’t do that, but then I’m not likely to rake in $100 mil in a single year anytime soon, either.

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          darkChozo says:

          In addition to the above discussion, 100M isn’t regular annual income, it’s more of a windfall. Minecraft 360 just launched this year, so all the frontloaded profit that comes from a game launch is in that number. It’s rather unlikely that he’ll make that much next year without either launching on a new platform (possible, a PS3 release? Or MinecraftU?) or releasing a new game with just as strong a response (seems unlikely, successes like that are hard to recreate). So it’s not like spending 20% of your annual income, it’s more like spending 20% (well, probably more like 10% or less, but w/e) of your net worth, a rather less desirable proposal.

    • Zeewolf says:

      I don’t think the question is “can he afford it”. It’s “does he think it’ll actually be an investment worth making”.

      Because it probably won’t.

  2. Zaphid says:

    Hmm, which game did Notch invest in ? I have a feeling it could be Path of Exile, he was diamond supporter at least, because he has unique item named after him.

    • pakoito says:

      That Oxyeye game, Cobalt or whatever. It’s The Showdown Effect in 2D with 5 year development.

      Link: http://www.oxeyegames.com/cobalt/

      • Zaphid says:

        Ah, thanks

      • omicron1 says:

        Which (Showdown Effect), in turn, is Soldat with a coat of paint.

      • mikmanner says:

        That looks loads better than Showdown effect. The way the characters move, a lot more fluidity. Advantage of abstract 2D over ‘realistic’ 3D perhaps.

        • pakoito says:

          Still the development time is dragging too much for its content IMO.

    • Serpok says:

      RPS reported some time before that Mojang hired Cube World’s developer.
      http://wollay.blogspot.com/

      • pakoito says:

        Long story short, in the end they didn’t.

        And speaking of cube world, every time I see it I find in shallower and blandest. Not unplayable by any means, just worse than expected :(

        EDIT: Bashing two games in one thread. Go me. Sorry, bad day.

  3. iniudan says:

    Damnit Notch, stop making game and invest, we want to see pant eating. Also Psychonauts 2.

  4. Ross Angus says:

    In defense of The Colonies, we Brits also accept “underpants” as a synonym for “pants”. So, basically you’re right.

  5. Jorum says:

    Although it pains me to say it, our US friends are just using the original meaning of the words.
    It’s the UK usage of trouser and pants that changed over the centuries, while they stuck to the original.

    • TCM says:

      Let’s be fair now, English as a language is a labyrinthine mess of weird syntax, regional variations, and lots of loan words.

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      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      If I allow your fact into my brain I would have to give up the smug superiority I feel when the matter of pants/trousers comes up when speaking with Americans. Truth be damned! I like my smug superiority!

      I refute it thus: No.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tanidar says:

      On that note, I’ve always wondered… Brits call electronic flashlights ‘torches,’ is there another word for the flaming rag on a stick kind of torch, or are you destined to be confused unless you know the context?

  6. Teovald says:

    That’s the most depressing thing I have heard today. I know it is not flawless ( I find the fragment collecting bit annoying ) but Psychonauts is one of my all times favorites.
    At least Brütal Legend is headed our way.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Can’t see Psychonauts 2 happening then. Shame.

    As much as it’s brilliant and a cult/critical favourite it’s poor performance was part of the downfall of Majesco. Of course I don’t know the lines of cause/effect in that situation and it might be that Majesco’s marketing was shite and that was part of the reason for Psychonauts’ slow early sales (indeed maybe it has done not so bad now with it’s status as a “game people should play TM”) and if Double Fine had handled it themselves (something that they’ve proven with the Kickstarter they can be pretty damn good at) things would have been better.

    I’d love to see it though, I really would. Psychonauts is still the only game I ever imported.

  8. Moozla says:

    I guess they will just have to find a different ‘Persson’ to invest…

    • Bhazor says:

      It’s a shame he’s had to tighten his belt a notch.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Perhaps someone else will mark us out another path to funding.

        • Premium User Badge

          alexheretic says:

          A german developer friend of mine was similarly denied funding for his ideas by Notch. [stick with me here] I still remember his empassioned open letter of reply:
          “Herr Persson, why will you not fund mine craft?”

  9. Bhazor says:

    $18,000,000? Really? That’s what all this is about? This when Activision throws ten times more into fucking advertising their latest Haddock game.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/18/business/fi-ct-duty18

    Goddammit industry. Get your act together, young man.

    • TCM says:

      Return on investment.

      Psychonauts 1 sold very poorly — if I’m not mistaken, it didn’t even make back its initial investment. In fact, I am pretty sure it very nearly caused the collapse of Majesco as a brand on consoles. As of last year, it’s sold 400,000 copies on Steam, I think, and at a lower than initial retail price. The end result is a pittance compared to its budget. There was zero profit in Psychonauts, and it lost millions. That’s not good business, it’s not what corporations want to see, and it’s not a property anyone wants to throw money at, regardless of being a critical darling on the internet.

      This isn’t a problem with the industry, it’s natural that things with a broader appeal will make more money, by having more sales, and thus be able to have more money thrown at them – that’s capitalism! The problem is that niche games don’t tend to have stable playerbases – and even those who do enjoy niche games aren’t always willing to pay full retail for something they value at that level. (not a piracy thing, a critique of people always ‘waiting for the sale’, which sends precisely the wrong message if you have a large interest in a game) Companies who do risky experiments like Psychonauts always seem to come in last, which encourages EA, Ubisoft, Activision et al. — the heavy hitter third party developers — to not take those risks, and only invest in proven brands and genres.

      Would Psychonauts 2 do better if released in the current market, with all the word of mouth and critical buzz surrounding it? Probably not. Not without a hefty marketing campaign behind it, and that’s muscle Double Fine doesn’t have.

      OF COURSE THAT’S JUST ME TALKING AS AN ARMCHAIR BUSINESSMAN, and not an economist or anything.

      • Bhazor says:

        This is a company that received $3.45 million on the mere suggestion of making a point and click adventure game. That doesn’t sound like a company with a small fringe fan base.

        The audience and the market are completely different that what they were when Psychonauts was released. Word of mouth is far more prevalent than it used to be, digital downloads removes the huge publisher and distribution costs and the market itself is far larger now than it was then. The other bonus of the modern PC market is that games can continue to sell years after release in bundles and Steam sales.

        Notch himself is proof of how much the market has changed, zero advertising endless word of mouth and profit in the tens of millions.

        • TCM says:

          That 3.45 million is not a positive number for your argument.

          Double Fine Adventure sold the promise of a finished game for 15 bucks. Psychonauts 2 would likely retail at 50, if not 60. About 50,000 people paid that bare minimum price on Kickstarter for DFA, half the number of Psychonauts first year sales, and that is with huge buzz on every major gaming news site I can think of. Kickstarter also takes away personal risk for the company involved, as their investment becomes purely one of time, since the money is taken care of — and 15 bucks is within the ‘curiosity money’ range for most potential buyers.

          You’re being really optimistic if you expect Psychonauts 2 could break six times that number, in cash, just to break even.

          • Bhazor says:

            And I don’t understand your pessimism. That is 50,000 people willing to hand over money sight unseen, that shows the size of their fanbase. The market is undeniably different than it was just 6 years ago, in Tim Schafers own words they made more on Psychonauts in 2012 than they did in the year it was released. The original was released at the death of the previous console generation, on a last generation console. At the time print media was still dominant (particularly for consoles), game blogs and websites were nowhere near as prevalent and certainly there was no where the same scale of indie scene. It also fell victim to the usual retail problem of being removed from shelves a month after release just as word of mouth was finally beginning to pick up.

            To put it another way, to make its 300,000 sales goal and break even. It would only need to match the performance of Brutal Legend in it’s first month.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I guess they’d ask how well The Cave sold.

  10. Dudeist says:

    Btw – Dayz 1.7.5.1 is out. Off topic ofc :)

  11. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Beyond his mighty means? Notch probably made $18m before breakfast today.

    • solidsquid says:

      Yeah, but that diamond cereal will set you back a fair bit

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Yeah, those dental bills really add up if you’re not careful.

  12. Premium User Badge

    All is Well says:

    Short summary of the Swedish link for those of you who, like me, tend to get a bit confused by Google Translates weird interpretations:

    Mojang, the company that markets Minecraft, reports a 580 million swedish kronor (SEK) (~€68M) profit for 2012, with a revenue of 1,5 billion SEK (~€175M). The income was mostly generated by Minecraft sales (15 million of them), and the largest single cost was 640M SEK (~€75M) in licensing fees paid to Notch’s personal company, Notch Development AB.
    The corresponding figures for 2011 were:
    Revenue: 541M SEK (~€63M)
    Profit: 61M SEK (~€7M)
    Licensing fees: 396M SEK (~€46M)
    Counting both 2012 and 2011, that means Notch has earned more than 1B SEK (~€115M) from Minecraft.
    The CEO of Mojang, Carl Manneh, expresses disbelief at the company’s success. Also, there is some speculation about their future, with Carl Manneh saying that he’s not sure Mojang’s profits have peaked yet, since there are some markets for Minecraft that are still untapped due to their online paymet solution (people form Brazil can’t buy the game, for example), and also thanks to the upcoming games Scrolls and 0x10c.

    *Edit: Ehrm, I meant people in Brazil can’t buy it.

  13. frightlever says:

    Statistically your desk has more germs and bacteria than your toilet seat so lucky you don’t brush your teeth in your office.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well thats obviously fine.

    • kalirion says:

      With bacteria, it’s all about quality over quantity. The relatively few fecal bacteria on the toilet seat will do far more damage to you than the greater number of food-borne bacteria on your desk.

  14. HadToLogin says:

    I think Notch was really surprised about those 18 millions $. Especially when PC version of Witcher 2 costed around 10 million $…

    • pakoito says:

      With polish salaries? and costs. It’s not the same a 50 person studio in LA than in Warsaw.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Probably true (on the other hand, I read polish IT earns more or less same as US IT – don’t know if true or not).
        And on the other hand, now we have Obsidian making Project Eternity for 3 million dollars… So, 18 millions sounds rather high…

        • malkav11 says:

          I’m pretty sure Obsidian has funding for Project Eternity beyond the kickstarter funding, and it’s also a project with different, less expensive needs than a Psychonauts-style platformer. Double Fine Adventure is also operating on a smaller budget than $18 million….but again, it’s a different kind of game.

          Note that many AAA games have budgets larger than that just for marketing.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Quick correction. Project Eternity had 4.1 million.

          Also, it is a 2-dimensional game with pre-rendered backgrounds. That has to be cheaper and easier than a full 3-d game.

  15. Hoaxfish says:

    I think Black Lake from the amnesia bundle would fit fairly well into to Psychonauts universe (dream cleaning, weird monsters in the forest).

  16. stiffkittin says:

    I think DF is just comfortable with their small release, high turn-over model at the moment. Not sure how suited they are to another massive, all-hands-on-deck, AAA project. Big risk, high level of burnout.