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.
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.