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Minecraft creator: "If you're open about sales, it feels like you're genuine"

Thu 25 Nov 2010 8:39am GMT / 3:39am EST / 12:39am PST
GamesDevelopment

Persson resists VC, considers DLC

Markus 'Notch Persson', creator of surprise indie hit Minecraft, does not regret making the game's turnover so public.

Persson hit the headlines in September, when Minecraft's constantly updated user count page revealed that the game was bringing in $350,000 per day at its peak.

"Personally I like sharing that information, because I'm generally an open guy," Persson told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published today. "But it feels a bit sometimes like it's a bragging page.

"That wasn't the intention, because originally it was for the people who had brought the game could see like a number increase on a webpage or something. I think it's a good sign, if you're actually open with your development and you're also open about the sales, it feels like you're genuine in some sense."

However, Persson slightly regrets the low price he selected for the current 'alpha' version of the game (which will rise when it reaches beta and then gold states).

"I think one kind of small problem with Minecraft is it's kind of cheap, and people who want to pay more can't pay more... If I had more business sense I probably would have raised the price a while ago. But I try to , if I promise something, stick to that..."

The Swedish developer, who recently opened his own studio off the back of Minecraft's success, also revealed he was mulling over the possibility of DLC to increase the game's revenues, but was worried about exploiting players. "I'm a bit opposed to pointless DLC, but trying to think about the model a bit more makes some sense. Especially now that we're running a proper company...

"I know I enjoyed some DLC before, when it feels like it's an expansion to the game which wasn't just there. Like when I was playing Mega Man 9, and I have bought content that I have already downloaded, that felt a bit weird. But the Fallout 3 expansions, I enjoyed those. If you do it right, you can do it in a good way, I think."

One source of funds Persson isn't interested in, however, is venture capital. "We're getting other types of interest now, people who want to throw money at us...

"I'd rather have [the games] just be self-funded, because we can run the company we want. If we fail with a game it's because we failed it, not because we had to rush it to meet a deadline."

The full interview with Markus Persson, in which he also discusses the business opportunities on PC following large publishers' abandonment of the platform and future plans for his new studio, is available here.

16 Comments

Stephen McCarthy
Studying Games Technology

205 0 0.0
is any one not seeing the article here or is it just me?

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Martin Egger
IT Specialist

1 0 0.0
me too

Posted:3 years ago

#2
Fixed now - apologies for the technical issue there.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Aleksi Ranta
Product Manager - Hardware

246 96 0.4
Had some trouble actually paying for this. This is a more enjoyable game than for example FF XiV is.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Alex Kitching
AI Programmer

5 0 0.0
I'm not so sure - I think the price is about right. I bought it and love it, but wouldn't have been prepared to pay more than around 10.00 to be honest.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Wojciech Mroczek
Awesome Content Specialist

18 10 0.6
I believe that with the price set higher for Minecraft the game wouldn't sell nearly as many copies and would bing much less revenue. 10 is just about as much as most people are willing to risk (yes! risk!) buying a game in early alpha development. I gladly paid my 10, but I considered it more of a donation towards game development rather than anything else. Had the game cost more, I wouldn't even consider the purchase.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Stephen McCarthy
Studying Games Technology

205 0 0.0
what Wojciech Mroczek was saying

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephen McCarthy on 25th November 2010 3:58pm

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Youcef Baouchi
Freelance Writer

1 0 0.0
I think the price is perfect right now and if he decides to increase it then he's just being greedy. The game is not worth anymore than the $12 I payed for it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Youcef Baouchi on 25th November 2010 4:05pm

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Ben Wilkinson
Art Director at Export 2 Reality

1 0 0.0
I think hes referring to theory that certain people (hard core fans) would like to pay more than $10 to get something special but don't have the opportunity.
DLC would be a smart route to go, especially if he lowered the initial purchase price and had variant prices of content based on how badly the player wanted it.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
Minecraft. DS/3DS would be cool.

Or hell, stick it on a damn DISC for consoles (Ben, you're absolutely right - people DO pay more for MORE content on a physical disc). Remember, not everyone has access to a high speed connection and ignoring that rather large console base means you're not maximizing the potential of the title, I say.

Make it a budget release around $19.99-$29.99 with additional content (maybe get that story mode completed if it's not done already), get some decent word of mouth (which should be easy)

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Eliot Lloyd
Studying Computer Games Design and Production

23 0 0.0
If anything the current price isn't worth it.
I've tried and tried to like it, but it's just not as good as other sand box games like it. I've played Playstation Mini's with more staying power.

At the end of the day you can play Minecraft for however much it costs, or you can play Dwarf Fortress for free, with the added bonus of watching dwarves do your stuff and get eaten by carp.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Shane Sweeney
Academic

329 211 0.6
Indie developers should always set up paypal donations. I wanted to give the Blueberry Garden developer, Erik Svendang more money but couldn't.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Krasimir Koichev
Producer

35 0 0.0
Notch has 600,000 pre-sales now, that's 6 million euro. Even if he started a small studio, 6 million will last him for a game or two.

Posted:3 years ago

#13
Eagle Dynamics is doing the same on their new A-10 simulator:

<a href="http://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/
">http://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/
</a>

60 Euros, new version every fortnight up until release. It's already very stable apparently.

No idea how much they make, but I suspect "enough" covers it, as they've been going a fair while now and release all their products digitally. And a 663 page PDF manual. Now THAT'S a manual!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 26th November 2010 10:57am

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Alasdair Gray
Junior Account Planner

9 0 0.0
I think the smartest (and simplest) part of this was setting a lower price during the alpha and clearly stating that it will increase in later versions. I wonder how many people would have bought the game during alpha if the price wasn't set to increase later.

Community good will is certainly important for any start up. Transparency is certainly a great way to encourage this and a donation option wouldn't hurt either. The more you can allow your audience to support and feel like they're a part of the game's development, the better.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Tim Carter
Designer - Writer - Producer

535 221 0.4
If the guy "has business sense" he'll keep on doing exactly what he's doing now.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

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