All about why Notch sold Minecraft to Microsoft

Notch has been distanced from the Minecraft project (Image via ibxtoycat/YouTube)
Notch has been distanced from the Minecraft project (Image via ibxtoycat/YouTube)

Marcus "Notch" Persson sold his game development company, Mojang, which held the rights for the massively popular title, Minecraft, to Microsoft, all the way back in 2014. This was part of a sweltering $2.5 billion dollar deal.

Many fans were initially left upset regarding the massive transaction, in fear that Microsoft would "kill Minecraft," mainly fuelled by speculation of intrusive over-commercialization of the game.

Contradictory to this once popular belief is the fact that in 2021, it's widely agreed within the community that Microsoft has done a generally sound job of adding fresh content to the game and listening to feedback.

This is evident in the onslaught of game updates constantly being pushed, even ringing true to this day with the exciting new cave update just around the corner.

Why did Notch sell Minecraft to Microsoft?

Although Notch also did a great job in terms of game development and the overall trajectory of Minecraft, it's widely believed that he was very unhappy towards the end of his time leading the Minecraft project at Mojang. This was attributed mainly to the fact Notch always had a distaste for the limelight, even so much so that he took to voicing his frustrations publicly.

Notch also went on to say things such as "the Mojang sale is not about the money, it's about my sanity" - a further indication of his unhappiness towards the end of his control over Mojang.

Why was Notch so unhappy making Minecraft?

Specifically, what lead Notch directly to become unhappy with his situation at Mojang is mainly understood to be a result of the spotlight that was forced upon him. This came as a by-product of Minecraft's explosive worldwide success.

Notch has been personified by admirers as a genuine character who was simply more competent with game development and less so public relations. Shortly after the deal with Microsoft was announced, Notch posted this to his personal website:

" I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed."
"I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."

This insight gave fans a brief look into the thoughts of a man who appeared to be on the verge of a breakdown. Notch gave rare comments detailing the burden he felt as a poster child for an absurdly popular project.

It's hard to visualize or even begin to comprehend in real terms for most people just how popular Minecraft has been. The game, even in 2021, is estimated to have an active playerbase of over 126 million people (those who have logged in at least once this month). This is essentially equivalent to almost a third of the entire population of the United States of America still playing the game on a regular basis.

Despite being over 10 years old, Minecraft is still a brand powerhouse
Despite being over 10 years old, Minecraft is still a brand powerhouse

Taking this into account, it becomes easier for one to begin conceiving the scale of difficulty Notch was presented with in order to continue living a lifestyle even somewhat similar to what he enjoyed before his Minecraft stardom.

It seems what upset Notch the most however, was harsh criticism from fans who felt he was not doing enough or considering community game feedback correctly.

What is Notch's relationship now with Minecraft?

Microsoft, and therefore the Minecraft brand, have in recent times. attempted to somewhat distance publicly from Notch. Many speculate that this was a direct response to Notch's edgy and provoking history of tweets.

More specifically, Notch was not invited to celebrate the 10th anniversary event of Minecraft's release. Notch's name was also famously removed from the splash page Minecraft title screen messages early in 2019.

Microsoft have also come out themselves to say that "His (Notch) comments and opinions do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang and are not representative of Minecraft."

This came as further indication towards their general unhappiness concerning the public conduct of the original developer for the game they have piled so much investment and public backing into.

Now, read all about the best Minecraft servers to join by clicking here.

Edited by Nikhil Vinod