Minecraft creator says he's no longer indie

Mojang cofounder Markus Persson says company no longer underground in some respects and that "It's become hip to pay for indie games."

In the relatively short time since Mojang's Minecraft first entered the scene, it has sold over 4.5 million copies, took home precious hardware from the Game Developers Conference, and held its own three-day convention in Las Vegas. Once heralded as an independent game, Minecraft's growing success has pushed studio cofounder Markus Persson to admit Mojang is no longer indie, at least in some respects.

Mojang is no longer an indie studio in some respects, according to Persson.

In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Persson said, "I don't think [Mojang] are indie in the sense of how I used to work any more because we have a payroll to worry about and we need to do stuff to ensure the company lasts. We have other stuff, which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games."

The developer further explained that he and studio cofounder Jakob Porser do their best to remain focused on creating games instead of getting caught up in the "other stuff."

However, Persson admitted that, "As a company, I don't think we are indie in the sense that I used to mean it…but in the other sense of indie, as in we make games we want to play without having any external dependencies, then, yeah, we're indie," he said.

Persson also offered his take on the present perception of independent developers. He said it is easier to be an independent game developer today because nomenclature has changed.

"Back in the day it wasn't called being an 'indie developer' but a 'garage programmer.' You weren't expected to charge for your game so you couldn't do it. People never charged. It was just a hobby."

Now, Persson says, "It's become hip to pay for indie games."

Minecraft first launched (in beta form) in 2010 before being released in full last November. The game has spread to the iOS and Android devices, where it has seen considerable success. Additionally, Minecraft is headed to the Xbox 360 this spring. Mojang's latest effort is publishing Oxeye Game Studios' 2D platformer Cobalt.

For more on Minecraft, check out GameSpot's review.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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80 comments
DuaneDog
DuaneDog

It took me 4 seperate attempts to 'get into' Minecraft. For whatever reason the first few times it just didn't click. I think we all just have moods we are in when we want to do the 'play with legos' kind of thing.... and times we are not in that mood. I'm waiting for a developer to merge the concepts of Skyrim, WoW, Guild 2, and Minecraft. A massive online RPG in which u can acquire (purchase) land, build businesses and create lineage... plus and of course fight with solid gameplay. Like Minecraft alot... but now after the fun 'indie' feel I'm ready for some real depth.

dragonhuman40
dragonhuman40

Meh. I find Minecraft boring. Every time I try to get into it I feel like I should be doing something else.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

@tanktank537 I have played minecraft an its a decent game for its cost, but all i was saying is that its a game where you build things. You build any structure with cubes and make weapons and pickaxes to kill creatures and mine. Correct me if im wrong but essentially what you do is build. And then @wavelength537 went on some rant about "Apps" and how minecraft was "glorious" making it sound like its some perfect gem of the gaming world.

tanktank537
tanktank537

@QOSMSTR @wavelength121 What are you guys arguing about? It seems to me that you both like Minecraft. An app is an abbreviation for an application, also known as a program or executable, which can be an awesome game or something as dull as a text editor. Minecraft is available for Android devices as an app/application/program. Some apps are made for the sole purpose of making money, but that does not mean all apps are. As far as the "building sim" thing goes, call it what you want. Sim is short for simulator, it does not directly tie to The Sims. Minecraft actually simulates very little except for the ability to place objects in a 3D environment. Anyways guys, no need to lose your cool over something as silly as semantics.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

@wavelength121 ok NOW im confused. Its not a building sim, its an UNLIMITED building sim. You make minecraft sound like the sims. And its not BTW. Not even close. Oh and guess what? Minecraft is also an App! And: "They (Apps) are lazy flash-based distractions created by greedy phone companies to pad their sales by cashing in on suckers who are too lazy or scared to make eye contact with others on the bus so they absorb themselves in a tiny screen instead" I'm not even going to respond to such an ignorant, blatantly stupid statement. Were you deprived of legos as a child are are you still one?

wavelength121
wavelength121

@QOSMSTR It's not just a "building sim". It'sIt's an unlimited building sim with low system requirements where you can do pretty much anything, with a giant gaming world, nearly endless customization and an enormous following, worldwide praise, and a nice, LOW independent price-tag. It doesn't claim to be an "app". You're the one going on about Apps. Apps aren't games. They're lazy flash-based distractions created by greedy phone companies to pad their sales by cashing in on suckers who are too lazy or scared to make eye contact with others on the bus so they absorb themselves in a tiny screen instead. In glorious Minecraft I can interact and work with others to build AN ENTIRE WORLD. That's ART. Also a three letter word, maybe that's why you're confused?

moviequest14
moviequest14

@CamoBullo : It's not just games...literally everything seems to be 'more hip' just because it's indie.Coffee Shops,music,movies..I for one don't really get into it..I do support indie games because it is awesome to see more than the big-leagues making good games..but I don't give indie games any good or bad 'extra credit' for being indie.

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

"It's become hip to pay for indie games." That statement is... Well, rather flawed. Indie games have become a part of gaming culture, so it's not exactly "hip" to pay for them. When I had first heard about Minecraft before anyone I knew, sure, let's consider it hip if you're the first one to find out. However, it grew amongst the gaming community and kind of hit the mainstream a bit. This by no means will change Minecraft, however.

moviequest14
moviequest14

Good....you're no longer indie...now you have no excuse for the current condition of Minecraft Pocket Edition.....

Llama345
Llama345

Did I miss something or does indie no longer mean independent? If you aren't signed to a corporate publisher are you not considered indie? I don't think I'm 'hip' for buying indie games, I would like to give due to these people for taking their time to create a unique experience. The old adage is, "Never do something you love for free."

loopy_101
loopy_101

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Well, if he isn't indie that means he is now part of the industry. I guess we can expect DLC add-ons or pay-to-play mechanics to show up soon enough.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

congrats! and all done without redundancy, clone-sequels, or milking the proverbial cow... i wonder if publishers like activision know what 'innovation' is anymore, other than a potential scary word to their bottom line.

hiphops_savior
hiphops_savior

There's nothing wrong with being successful without ever selling out, as of yet.

fester420
fester420

I keep trying to play minecraft but I just can't get into it. The concept is awesome, it's just not my type of game sadly.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

It's nice to see someone admit when they're no longer indie anymore... it's annoying as hell with music suggesting they're still indie, just to make sure the the "scene kids" stilll think they're being "different" by listening to their stuff, lol. Nothing wrong with being succesful, congrats to minecraft.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

"It's hip.." Haha.. sorry what? It's not the 80's anymore folks!

jonasas2
jonasas2

if Mojang will dump indie games, then i cant imagine how are they going to create normal games. they will probably try something like half life with realistic physics and good graphics but it wont be any good, just minecraft with normal graphics and less stuff to do

fillup0
fillup0

Indie games are just games like anything else, they are no different.

supertom221
supertom221

Well, with a fanbase of over 20 millions and over 5 million purchases, it would be pretty stupid to keep calling Minecraft an "indie" game, since it sold more than many AAA titles, especially while being the Studio's very first attempt at a game. Minecraft also started that "Beta" trend where developers, instead of releasing demo's realease Betas of the game to let the gamers test the game and gove back feedback.

Hornet85
Hornet85

While I pay for all my games, I do so with indie games too not because I feel hip doing that. Rather, these indie developers have came up with many interesting idea, or explore new territories with their games which I think is worth buying just to try them out, especially at their low prices. In fact, I don't go around bragging about buying indie games. If anything, there are quite a few indie games that are my guilty pleasure, lol.

eddieham13
eddieham13

@got_ice_tea That comment is so bad, I don't even think your trying to troll, which makes me think your a moron.

eddieham13
eddieham13

@soulfulDAGGER "Never played minecraft" well that makes everything else you said pretty meaningless.

eddieham13
eddieham13

@xsonicchaos I played the early Alpha, and still play.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

i've played the beta of Minecraft, but i just could not find the fun in it as i did in other indie games, like Braid, Bastion or Shank. I know they are not the same, but i expect a game to entertain me, not to eat my life! you guys can drown me in curse words and thumbs down, but this is how i feel.

ronnet
ronnet

Good. Indiegames were too underground, too independent and too small. They might have the innovative spirit that big developers lack/don't want to risk but they lacked the funds and manpower to create ''full games''. I think the future of original and amazing games is not in big developers who only are allowed to make sequels. The future of original games is with developers who started out indie but went just a little further. They'd still be small enough to make games with poor graphics, ugly graphics, awkward animation and no spoken dialogue, but not big enough to require a million+ sales to be profitable. They'll be in that sweet spot that big developers used to be in the 90's. Most of what they made was crap (that is the risk) but a few games were true gems.

origamistyle
origamistyle

"It's become hip to pay for indie games." Ugh, poor choice of words. A significant number of people are choosing to support developers who sell creative and highly affordable games. It's a wonderful situation, if you ask me. Can't we give more credit to these buyers than writing them off as part of some mindless trend?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@QOSMSTR Pretty much, it's the perfect formula to reach as many people as possible, and then satisfy them at least enough to recommend it to others (however much or little that might be).

iloveyourface
iloveyourface

@soulfurDAGGER you are a very sneaky troll. thumbs up.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Notch let the fame get to him too quickly. Thank God for Jeb actually making progress with Minecraft instead of sitting on a pile of gold like Notch. I mean, he had enough money to create MineCon, clearly something went a little too crazy there.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Lego game devs must cut themselves every time Minecraft is mentioned.

soulfulDAGGER
soulfulDAGGER

Never played Minecraft. If they find a way to make the graphics less blocky and make the physics as good and useful as the Source engine's (Garrysmod), then I might buy it.

lifemeister
lifemeister

Most games today don't leave much remove for the imagination. Minecraft stood out because you create, explore, imagine, survive...stuff non-existing in big blockbuster games. But wait...oh boy! The naive are now mimicking.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

@wavelength121 Its a game where you can build what ever want and use what you build. So this game is for the people who like building. And i'm not paying $20 or even $10 for a building sim. If you want to that's fine. At least App games give you a decent distraction on the go. And they dont usually cost more than a dollar.

Tauu
Tauu

A market has sprung up underneath the $60 price point. That's what has happened here.

commando1992
commando1992

Gee, it must be tough, being successful.

TheVGamer
TheVGamer

So you're a hipster if you buy indie games? That's an excellent way to promote indies!

cboyuno
cboyuno

Who gives a flying duck?

daabulls23
daabulls23

"It's become hip to pay for indie games." As opposed to what? Not paying for them?

Rovelius
Rovelius

He can say whatever he wants, only the games matter

max_1111
max_1111

@parrot_of_adun Ssh... you'll make the hipsters look stupid... ...Oh wait, i'm perfectly okay with that.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

I may not like Minecraft (not for me), but I do like Mr. Persson. He strikes me as an extremely intelligent, honest, and passionate game developer.

hector530
hector530

minecraft stopped being an indie game when it sold million copy before its release.

wavelength121
wavelength121

@QOSMSTR It's a game where you can do and build anything. Think about it. That's better than any crap-app Apple will ever release and you should be grateful you can get it so cheap.

popki
popki

I can't wait for Gamespot Core to launch, so I don't have to sift through pieces of an interview from an unrelated magazine in the News section

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

Minecraft was never "indie" to begin with.

cipo89
cipo89

@larkin-54 It was better actually, when it was in late alpha it was perfect, I literally had almost no complaints about it. But as soon as it got into late beta it began to be dumbed down with mechanics and things I don't admire. Things like the enchanting system, the potion system, EXP and all that. It was much better during alpha, but hey thats just my opinion.

Spacerac
Spacerac

@parrot_of_adun exactly. For example, Insomniac with their AAA games are still an independent studio because they were never 1st party.