Microsoft buys 'Minecraft' for $2.5 billion. Has 'Notch' Persson done the right thing?
Markus "Notch" Persson, the founder of Minecraft-maker Mojang, has completed an ascent to success that most game developers would die for.
However, Persson, who created the Minecraft game in 2009, seemed more relieved than triumphant as news broke that he had sold his company to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.
"It's not about the money. It's about my sanity," he said in a blog post. For anyone else who just gained a lot of zeros in his bank account, that statement would be hard to believe. However, Persson had been giving indications recently that his company was becoming his main source of grief. "Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life? Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig," he said in a tweet last June.
He sent out the tweet in response to users angry over the possible revision of Mojang's end-user license agreement (EULA). Erik Broes, a developer for Mojang, told server owners that charging Minecraft players for perks violated the game's EULA. This caused a backlash from the people running the game's biggest servers. Mojang eventually changed the rules, explicitly prohibiting the sale of noncosmetic features of the game.
This incident figured in Persson's "farewell" post, entitled "I'm leaving Mojang." "I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the Internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn't understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn't have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I've become a symbol. 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," he said.
In his retirement, Persson said that he plans on making entries to the game-making competition Ludum Dares and conducting small web experiments. He promised that if anything he makes approaches any form of popularity, he would abandon it immediately.
Persson will leave his company as soon as the deal with Microsoft is finalized. According to the company's annual report, he controls about 71 percent of Microsoft's newest acquisition.
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