Notch loves Steam... but it isn’t right for Minecraft

Markus 'Notch' Persson has been asked frequently by fans of both Minecraft and Steam why you can't get the former on the latter. Persson's explanation – that while he loves Steam, he's doubtful that his goals for Minecraft are in line with Valve's policies and the reasoning behind them – is certainly a lot more civil than many recent digital-distribution conversations have been. Why, he's so polite in his refusal to adopt Valve's platform in the immediate future, Notch almost sounds like he'd rather make people happy than sell games. Crazy.

Above: Persson says accoutrements like capes would be harder to sell through Steam

“Steam is the best digital distribution platform I’ve ever seen,” says Persson, who presumably has seen a few in his road to king of the indie-gaming castle. “I’ve spent incredible amounts of money on it, and I own a crazy amount of games on it.” However, he says, “Being on Steam limits a lot of what we’re allowed to do with the game, and how we’re allowed to talk to our users.” Persson has his doubts that the kind of content and distribution models he has in store for the game would sit easily with Valve, resulting in a split between Steam and non-Steam customers “where only some of the players can access all of the weird content we want to add to the game.” (Which, really, is just a more polite variation on what EA said recently).

In a further display of gentlemanly deference, Notch says he's in talks with Valve about what the two can do together, and that he understands why Steam works the way it does, citing “a certain inherent incompatibility between what we want to do and what they want to do.”

For readers worried Persson's continued refusal to indulge in competitive bitching may keep him from gaming's high-vitriol big-leagues, the wily Swede closes with a barbed final compliment, calling Steam, “Much more awesome than certain other digital distribution platforms that we would NOT want to release Minecraft on.” The kid might just make multinational CEO yet.

Aug 31, 2011

Source: Gamasutra


  • cj12297 - September 1, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    You can just add it as a non steam game.
  • Ivegotmyawesomepantson - September 1, 2011 12:30 a.m.

    I think that the main difference here is that Mojang have been selling Minecraft directly from their website since day one. Given that they've had full control over distribution of the game from the beginning (not to mention the fact that it's been a proven success sales-wise), it wouldn't make much sense to change their business strategy now.
  • TheVoid - August 31, 2011 9:18 p.m.

    Gotta love Notch, whether a fan of Minecraft or not. True, just about every reason he cited as to why Minecraft wouldn't work on Steam is equivalent to EA's rationale, although Notch did so in a very respectful manner, indicating more than once that he's not only a user but a big fan of Steam (and apparently a big spender - clearly he has a hard time resisting Steam's endless parade of jaw-dropping deals as much as the rest of us). And you know what? I get it. I love Steam but I expect it can't be the be-all-end-all for all pc games, and I'm sure they'd agree. But where Notch has succeeded where EA has failed is in his response's tone, which carries with it a heaping amount of respect for both Steam and those interested in his reasons. He's not taking his ball and going home while cranking the PR machine full-bore, trying to convince us otherwise (ala EA), rather he is stating that Steam probably cannot accommodate his grand vision for Minecraft, which is more than fair, especially since he also added that Steam very well could be a fine place for his future offerings (perhaps Scrolls, not to be confused with the long-running Elder Scrolls series, more commonly known as either Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim, just to be clear). And I'll bet all kinds of money that someone at EA read this and said "but...but...we said the same thing, basically. Then why does everyone hate us but love Notch?". Well, for starters EA, you decided to take your entire future library away from Steam, even going so far as to dangle Crysis 2 but then yank it altogether. It's hard for me (or anyone else, it would appear) to believe that each and every EA title's "grand vision" can't be accommodated by Steam. SWTOR? Maybe. But BF3, especially seeing how it wasn't a problem for BF2 and BFBC2? I can't say I'm buying it, both figuratively and literally. Minecraft, on the other hand, gets my $$$ because I don't get the sense at all that Notch is talking down to me, nor do I feel that he is shuffling his earnings at the risk of my privacy and convenience in front his passion - to make the best game he can - and his appreciation for his customers. He's been playing it straight from day one while EA continues to reveal itself as being completely out of touch with it's target audience. EA could stand to take some notes from this guy. And Bethesda and Activision and Ubisoft... God bless Notch. I hope the guy makes a zillion dollars.
  • D0CCON - August 31, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    I like Terraria more and that's on Steam. It's a good consolation prize for people who were hoping Minecraft would show up.
  • EnigmaSpirit - August 31, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    I still don't see how he can't release it on steam. I don't really care because my computer can't run most pc games, and Minecraft isn't really my thing (tried it out for a while, but still don't care for it). Still, how does Steam make it harder for him to add wierd stuff?
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - August 31, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    Dammit Notch. Could you possibly be more lovable?
  • EnragedTortoise1 - August 31, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    If he was a b.... no, I'm not going to go there.
  • badgraphix1 - August 31, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    Yet they release the game on Xbox Live, which is even more limiting that Steam.
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - August 31, 2011 4 p.m.

    Thats on consoles though. Notch is referring to the PC, which, really, thats where the majority of the fanbase is always going to be.
  • ACGUY - August 31, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    Oh snap! Origin just got slapped in da face in a statement that was about Steam! EA better represent if they want to go out with dignity!
  • Cenobite85 - August 31, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    EA have dignity? Pshaw.

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