Notch

Mean Tweets Helped Inspire Notch to Sell Minecraft

Notch is, despite his larger-than-life presence as the former face of Minecraft, a relatively private person when it comest to his own life. So this Forbe’s profile about why Notch sold Mojang and Minecraft and what he’s been doing since might be the deepest and most honest look we’ll get into what happened.

The profile paints a picture that’s slightly sad, of a man who was overburdened with his own success and the stress and criticism that comes from it and is now going through what could now be a delayed childhood, to make up for his first troubled and crappy one. Notch is using his $2.5 billion to buy mansions and spend $180,000 a night at clubs and trick out a really awesome office. And although Notch has started a new company, he also seems to be doing his best to avoid putting any concrete new products out there, perhaps for the fear that they’ll fail to become the next Minecraft or, maybe more horrifyingly for Notch, that they will succeed.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the profile is seeing just how seriously Notch took to heart the mean things that were sent his way, even when they were jotted off by fans who were briefly mad about some trivial thing like changes to Minecraft boats that he had nothing to do with. Mojang’s announcement last year that it was actually going to start enforcing its End User License Agreement in an attempt to keep shady servers from scamming kids set off so much hate it was the last straw.

If you’ll remember, Notch tweeted about the anger, saying “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.” It turns out no less than three major corporations took this offer completely seriously.

Notch was almost immediately hit with offers from Activision Blizzard, EA, Microsoft and others. He eventually went with Microsoft, of course, and then he and Mojang’s other co-founders celebrated with a vacation they called the sellout trip. For those hoping it was all happy endings with Mojang’s employees, unfortunately, it wasn’t. The article indicates there are more than a few hard feelings.

Notch seems to recognize that selling out to Microsoft is at odds with the independent online persona he created, the one that called Facebook creepy. But $2.5 billion can buy a whole lot of new perspective.

“You have to be responsible for what you said, of course,” he says, “but I don’t really feel a lot of shame for saying something that I’ve changed my mind about.”

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