It’s been a big year for Minecraft, that monolithic devourer of children’s free time, and Microsoft are gearing up to celebrate its tenth anniversary. They just won’t be sending any invitations to original lead developer Markus “Notch” Persson, whose “comments and opinions” online have gotten him kicked off the mega-corporation’s christmas card list, according to Variety. This comes shortly after the game’s current developers removed all references to Notch from the game’s title screen, as reported by RPS fanzine PC Gamer, although he still exists within the game’s credits.
Ever since Notch sold his studio, Mojang, and the rights to Minecraft to Microsoft for a mindboggling $2.5bn (£1.93bn), he has been uninvolved in its development. He has, however, spent a lot of time on Twitter. While Microsoft didn’t specify what had placed Notch on their naughty list, some possible ones would be his transphobic tweeting (credit to Gay Star News), and his belief in QAnon conspiracy theories (thanks, Newsweek), a howling vortex of nonsense favoured by the extreme far-right. As GQ reported, he’s also said some dumb things about race. Yikes, as they say.
son: this minecraft game is great dad
dad: it is indeed son
son: who made it?
dad: no one. it came from space
— zara tustra (@zarawesome) December 6, 2018
A Microsoft spokesperson gave Variety a little further info, clarifying that “His comments and opinions do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang and are not representative of Minecraft”. It should be noted that this is not ‘censorship’, nor is it a freedom-of-speech issue. He has not been blocked or banned from anything. Persson continues to say whatever he pleases with wild abandon on Twitter. He’s just not invited to the cool parties for block-building fans anymore. The cool party in particular is to be a big press event at Mojang’s Stockholm offices on May 17th.
All told, this was probably a good move on Microsoft’s part. At this point, it’s probably for the best to just agree that Minecraft came from space.