Markus “Notch” Persson rethinks Mojang's “indie” status

Markus “Notch” Persson's days as an independent developer are over. Well, in the literal sense, maybe. In an interview with PC Gamer, the Minecraft creator and Mojang co-founder admitted that while his studio still operates at a distance from the mainstream studios, he and his team have reached a level of size and success where the underdog "indie" label no longer fits a snugly as it did in the beginning.

“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,” Persson said, explaining, “We have other stuff which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games. We make sure me and Jacob are only focusing on game development so the founders are still developing. But 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.”

Reflecting on the independent scene as a whole, Persson suggested it's been easier for smaller developers like himself to make a living in the indie scene. In the past, so-called “garage programmers” never considered charging money for their wares, but over the last several years consumers have become more and more willing to support the indie scene.

“These days it’s become hip to pay for indie games. That’s partly down to people charging for it, like with the Humble Indie Bundle, and partly because of Steam doing awesome stuff," said Persson, adding, “There’s still no guarantee you’ll make a profit. If you’re doing it out of passion and just want to get some money back it’s definitely doable.”

What do you think? Is it easier to be indie? And has Notch and company outgrown the title?


  • ObliqueZombie - January 24, 2012 11:05 a.m.

    Hell yeah they've outgrown that title. With the amount of copies they're selling of the newly, ermm, "official'd" Minecraft, they'll need bigger support from a parent company or publisher. Screw being "hip," I just want a quality game from a studio who won't close due to financial hardship. Since Mojang made a name for itself already, I don't see this becoming a problem.
  • MCN2011 - January 24, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    Is it a coincidence that my Captcha includes the word "Swedenborg"?
  • An_Awesome_Guy - January 24, 2012 1:20 p.m.

    No, it's a conspiracy.

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