In the shadow of a $2.5 billion deal, one famed game dev slips away
J Thoendell stashed this in Video Games
He writes of how Minecraft, which has sold more than 50 million copies around the world, became this thing that seemed beyond him, a huge hit that people told him was changing the game industry. He talks about trying to make lightning strike a second time with a new game and how that game sort of fell apart.
But what seemed to solidify Persson's growing concerns and desire to leave was seeing another developer go through the same gauntlet of celebrity he felt he has endured.
While Fez isn't nearly as popular as Minecraft, developer Phil Fish became an internet celebrity through his terse comments and stylistic approach to game design. That celebrity brought with it a crowd of people who seemed to hate the developer.
Notch saw in Fish his future, or at least one he feared.
He worried that in sticking with Mojang and Minecraft he had some how stopped being a developer and become to fans a symbol. He worried that he had lost his connection with those who played his games.
"I've become a symbol," he wrote. "I don't want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don't understand, that I don't want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."
Persson is leaving because he didn't belong, or at least he felt he didn't. The game he created in his spare time while working another job, the game he so cautiously uploaded a video of to YouTube as simply "cave game" in 2009, has, Notch believes, become more important than its creator.
It remains to be seen whether Minecraft will thrive or decay as part of Microsoft.
He sold the company to buy himself the freedom to fail again. That is an amazing thing that entrepreneurs find difficult to explain.
Especially since, for many, Minecraft IS Notch.