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There are now 15 million Minecrafts in the wild; Notch celebrates with energy drinks

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There are now 15 million Minecrafts in the wild; Notch celebrates with energy drinks

More than 15 million Minecrafts raised in captivity have now been successfully introduced into the wild, Notch announced this morning. Some of them were wide-open sandboxes when purchased half a decade ago, filled with potential and not much else. Others found their owners just this weekend, as fully-featured platforms for unbounded creativity and horse-riding.

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Mojang's cancelled Minecraft for the Oculus Rift was free and "designed to promote VR"

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Mojang's cancelled Minecraft for the Oculus Rift was free and "designed to promote VR"

Amid currently unfounded concerns that Facebook mean to turn Oculus inside out or stockpile all future Rifts for Zuckerberg’s personal use, one clear, tangible downside to the acquisition is beginning to emerge: we’re not getting a free, officially supported version of Minecraft to forward the cause of magic goggles. And that’s a bit sad.

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CCP will still release Eve: Valkyrie as a Rift launch title: "We're very excited for Oculus"

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CCP will still release Eve: Valkyrie as a Rift launch title: "We're very excited for Oculus"

For a long time, we worried that Eve: Valkyrie might not be destined for the Oculus Rift at all - CCP were cagey on the subject, and whispers of Sony’s own headset bounced around convention centres.

Now that developers are getting cold feed in the wake of Oculus’ Facebook deal, however, it’s CCP who are first to take the VR company’s corner.

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Notch kills possible Oculus deal in light of impending Facebook acquisition

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Notch kills possible Oculus deal in light of impending Facebook acquisition

The immediate reaction to Facebook’s plans to buy Oculus VR have been hostile to say the least. Hilariously, my Facebook feed is filled with venom: Facebook users condemning Facebook, claiming that it’s ruined yet another thing they liked. And it was as I was chuckling at those comments that I noted Notch weighing in on the matter. I’m not laughing as much now. 

A big deal like this was bound to rub some developers the wrong way, and the first victim is an Oculus Rift version of Minecraft. Mojang and Oculus VR were in talks, and now they are not. 

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Diamond dividends: Mojang's income more than doubled last year

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Diamond dividends: Mojang's income more than doubled last year

Mojang made 816 million ($128 million) Swedish kronor in 2013. That’s up from 326 million kronor the previous year.

It doesn’t quite match the figures of Candy Crush monarchs and former Notch employers King, who raked in $1.88 billion last year. But it’s worth remembering that King now employ 665 people, while Mojang is still a studio of 34 - promoting and updating a game now over five years old.

All 34 are now doing rather well for themselves.

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Block buster: Mojang "working with" Warner Bros on "potential" Minecraft movie

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Block buster: Mojang "working with" Warner Bros on "potential" Minecraft movie

I was in Tesco the other day. There, opposite the cookbooks, not so far from the grapes, hemmed in by sticker books, was the Minecraft Beginner’s Handbook. And it’s far too late to be surprised.

Minecraft is a cross-medium phenomenon, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Lego. Those aren’t simply names pulled out of the pop cultural rift - they’ll be Minecraft’s stablemates if Mojang’s talks with Warner Bros yield fruit.

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Minecraft has been sold to PC gamers on 14 million separate occasions

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Minecraft has been sold to PC gamers on 14 million separate occasions

Minecraft has now sold more than the Myst series. More than that, it's less than 350,000 copies away from riding into Red Dead Redemption’s town (on a 1.6.1 update horse, natch) and declaring the environs sufficiently cramped to merit a duel.

In terms of copies sold, it’s now about as valuable as Raving Rabbids is to Ubisoft, or Metroid is to Nintendo.

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Minecraft reaches the 13 million copies sold mark

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Minecraft reaches the 13 million copies sold mark

More than double the number of people living in Scotland now own Minecraft on PC. Crikey. That's a lot of abused chickens and exploding creepers. The blocky sandbox doesn't appear to be losing steam, selling a million copies over the last few months, making its early success in 2011 (and before during alpha and beta phases) not a very big deal in comparison. 

I attempted to relay this news to my flatmate and his son, who are rather big fans, but both of them were too busy doing weird things with lava and sheep, one on the PC and the other on the phone. Wait... there's shouting now. I believe zombies are attacking. I wish they'd be quiet, I'm trying to work.

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Watch Notch graduate to US talk shows

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Watch Notch graduate to US talk shows

There’s only a handful of rounded game development personalities who can be slotted into the square hole of showbusiness. Cliffy B used to don his leather pants and do the rounds on American TV couches, and Rockstar sent Laslow to conduct radio interviews for GTA V. But Notch? Notch was the introvert hidden under a fedora - right up until he walked through Craig Ferguson’s stage door last night.

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Notch on 0x10c and the future of Mojang; "We could just do prototypes and see what sticks"

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Notch on 0x10c and the future of Mojang; "We could just do prototypes and see what sticks"

It’s tempting to say that Mojang’s fans are working on more of their games than they are. Last year’s 60-hour MoJam game, Catacomb Snatch, spawned its own ongoing community project. And no sooner had Notch dropped programming-in-space game 0x10c than it was picked back up by his fans.

Now Notch hammers out tiny Unity experiments like Drop and Shambles, while the rest of the studio plugs away at Scrolls. And to hear the formerly fedora’d man talk at last weekend's Minecon, experimental is how it’s going to stay.

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Minecraft has been sold 12 million times on PC, Mac and Linux

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Minecraft has been sold 12 million times on PC, Mac and Linux

I hereby call for the introduction of a Sense of Perspective Server: an impossible, persistent Minecraft world in which we all gather once a month just to hammer home precisely how many people are playing, have played and have serious plans to play Notch’s albatross.

Why? Because 12 million is a number so large as to be utterly meaningless, rolling immediately off the tongue and down the back of your brain, never to be seen again. Mojang might as well replace the counter on their stats page with a box that reads: “301+".

In lieu of the server, let’s find a couple of half-decent points of comparison.

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Notch mothballs 0x10c; community team resolve to build it themselves

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Notch mothballs 0x10c; community team resolve to build it themselves

Notch put 0x10c on ice in April, citing a creative block - and it’s languished there in the freezer ever since, sharing shelf space with some neglected block of chicken now resembling White Walker meat. The man at Mojang this week confirmed that he has no plans to do anything with his space-and-16-bit-PCs sim, in a glum non-announcement that had the much more positive side effect of spurring a handful of community developers into action.

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Putt-Putt claim Minecraft and Don Mattrick are infringing on their copyright. Are Putt-Putt trolling us?

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Putt-Putt claim Minecraft and Don Mattrick are infringing on their copyright. Are Putt-Putt trolling us?

Putt-Putt, purveyor of fine minature golf courses all over America, have sent a cease and desist letter to Mojang and Don Mattrick, claiming that “Mojang AB’s use of the Putt-Putt name has benefited Mojang AB to the detriment of Putt-Putt".

They included pictorial evidence of how this infringement has occurred.

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Notch's latest game is called Drop, a free browser game about falling into a cube forever

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Notch's latest game is called Drop, a free browser game about falling into a cube forever

The 'make a game in a weekend' Ludum Dare competition has drawn to a close for the 26th time, spawning over one and half thousand games along the theme of 'minimalism'. Minecraft man Notch took a whack at creating something for the contest and ended up with Drop, a simple game about falling into an endless cube while tapping keys as letters appear on your screen. It's inspired by Super Hexagon and the corner of the room Notch was sitting in when he thought of it. I'm terrible at it, because fingers.

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Minecraft's Notch and Jeb make the Time 100 Most Influential list as 'Titans'; Will Wright sounds off

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Minecraft's Notch and Jeb make the Time 100 Most Influential list as 'Titans'; Will Wright sounds off

I spent about 10 minutes just now trying to work out precisely how Most Influential Markus Persson and Jens Bergensten are, but it seems Time have de-numbered their list. Instead, according to Will Wright and a magazine who have been doing this for a very long time, the two men of Minecraft are ‘Titans’.

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Notch comes second in reader poll for Time's Most Influential Person in the World

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Notch comes second in reader poll for Time's Most Influential Person in the World

The internet has spoken. After Time Magazine opened a poll asking which figures should be included in their annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, votes poured in for Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson. With the polls now closed, Notch sits in second place with 156,694 votes, just behind Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

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Mojam 2013 raised $517,489 for charity, Notch’s beard killed in aftermath

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Mojam 2013 raised $517,489 for charity, Notch’s beard killed in aftermath

In mid-February, nine indie dev teams assembled in New York, in the Netherlands, in Mojang’s lush Stockholm office and elsewhere to make nine games in 78 hours. 86,531 fans picked the theme of their games, watched their development via live streams, and donated more than $500,000 to Block by Block and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Sadly, though, the fine beard of Mojang head Markus ‘Notch’ Persson did not survive a flippant promise he had made to donors before proceedings began.

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Age of Wonders III's development funded by Notch

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Age of Wonders III's development funded by NotchWhat originally appeared to be little more than a generic fantasy turn-based strategy game is fast becoming a great little title with much to recommend it. As well as tea drinking generals, RPG element-infused armies, and an art style that collides fantasy with steam punk, development of Age of Wonders III turns out to have been largely funded by Minecraft's creator Markus 'Notch' Persson.

More below.

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