Notch on selling Minecraft to Microsoft: “It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity”


Notch and the other founders of Mojang are selling their studio and Minecraft to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. In a blog post announcing the sale, Mojang’s Owen Hill broke down the reasons for the sale, and in a separate post Notch has made his own reasons clear.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”

“I don’t see myself as a real game developer,” Notch begins. “I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.”

Notch has gradually moved away from Minecraft development, handing the reins over to Jens. He’s tried to make other, large games, like 0x10c but eventually mothballed them in favour of smaller projects. “Since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work.”

Already feeling disillusioned with his place in the studio, the recent EULA situation was the final straw. Mojang was changing its EULA to better protect its players from exploitative servers, a real problem in the Minecraft community, and the internet “exploded with hate” towards Notch for a situation he says he “had nothing to do with.”

Which is when he tweeted:

And Microsoft responded.

Something else that played into Notch’s decision to leave was after watching the This is Phil Fish video:

He says he “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.”

Notch is leaving Mojang, along with the company’s other founders, and he will continue to develop games but if he “ever accidentally makes something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”

He ends by saying: “I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”

Now that Minecraft is in Microsoft’s hands here’s what we hope they do with it.