Notch: Mojang No Longer "Indie"

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Notch: Mojang No Longer "Indie"

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With 20 million registrations and a paying player base quickly approaching 5 million, it would be a stretch to consider Minecraft the underground indie sensation it once was ... and Notch agrees.

Marcus "Notch" Perrson may have gotten his start as a no-budget programmer, but as Mojang has become more successful, the now famous developer has had to shift priorities, losing the ability to call his company "indie" in the process.

"I don't think [Mojang is] indie in the sense of how I used to work any more," Perrson said during an interview with PC Gamer, "because we have a payroll to worry about and we need to do stuff to ensure the company lasts."

"We have other stuff which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games. We make sure me and Jakob [Porser] are only focusing on game development, so the founders are still developing. But as a company, I don't think we are indie in the sense that I used to mean it. But in the other sense of indie - as in we make games we want to play without having any external dependencies - then yeah, we're indie."

It may sound as if Notch is simply discussing the semantics of an admittedly loose definition, but he's using the distinction to describe the way an indie developer operates after finding success. Even so, Notch doesn't think the word "indie" still means what it used to, commenting that back in the days of the "garage programmer," indie developers didn't even charge for their creations.

"These days it's become hip to pay for indie games," he said. "That's partly down to people charging for it, like with the Humble Indie Bundle, and partly because of Steam doing awesome stuff.

"[Being indie is] much easier these days, but there's still no guarantee you'll make a profit. If you're doing it out of passion and just want to get some money back, it's definitely doable."

While I doubt that it would be easy for any programmer, regardless of his or her skill, to duplicate the success of Minecraft on a whim, Notch has proven (or at the very least, helped to prove) a model in which a passionate creative with a good idea can actually succeed in a market flooded with multi-million dollar development and marketing budgets. Times may have changed, but independent developers actually getting paid for their work when their work is worthwhile seems a step in the right direction.

Source: PC Gamer

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I've always wondered what most people considered 'indie.' Is it mainly working without some financial backing, without a publisher, or is it just being 'a small group working on something.'

Either way, I suppose it doesn't matter in the end. The way Notch seems to define means that he isn't indie anymore, which... oh well. Being 'indie' does make a difference as long as the game is good.

Indie = Independent I thought it meant independent on a publisher.

Well it couldn't have happened to a more deserving developer.

Notch is just saying he isn't indie anymore so nobody whines when he charges for DLC, he's just one of the boys now. Deal with it.

I associate the term indie with a developer that has no publisher or shareholders to answer to, thus allowing them the freedom to make what they want how they want(within their own means). If Mojang ever wants to make a game but doesn't because it's too much of a financial risk, then they will not really be indie any more IMO.

Crono1973:
Indie = Independent I thought it meant independent on a publisher.

That's the actual definition, yes. But what Notch is talking about here is that people tend to associate "indie" with certain things, and he no longer fits the standard image of an indie dev. Valve, for instance, is rarely described as indie despite the fact that all their games are self-published.

Of all the things I hate, the concept of "indie" is one of them. It's suppose to mean an independent or someone without a publisher. It has been encode with the new meaning by hipsters and snobs. I am going to ignore this nebulous and questionable definition because like many terms defined by popular culture it has no true definition and it's lack of precision makes it pointless. The company is still indie until they get a publisher, which probably won't be any time soon because they should still be rolling in dough.

I'm slightly confused by this. Methought that Minecraft was an indie game. Could someone please explain the subtlety that I'm apparently missing?

Zen Toombs:
I'm slightly confused by this. Methought that Minecraft was an indie game. Could someone please explain the subtlety that I'm apparently missing?

They've grown to the point that they're actively spending money to keep the company glued together, so Notch says that they've crossed the line from "indie developers" to "corporation". It's not necessarily a bad thing, as they're still "indie" in that they don't have external influences telling them what to do.

OT: I'm glad to see they've officially "made it". Next up to the plate: I predict Sauropod Studios.

aPod:
Notch is just saying he isn't indie anymore so nobody whines when he charges for DLC, he's just one of the boys now. Deal with it.

Actually, he said he would charge for DLC from near the beginning, so you're just being cynical for the sake of being cynical.

Zen Toombs:
I'm slightly confused by this. Methought that Minecraft was an indie game. Could someone please explain the subtlety that I'm apparently missing?

When Minecraft was brought into existence when it was simply "cave game", it was little more than a tiny project by a single man that had about as many people aware of it as had watched the youtube video on Notch's account. That's indie.

Now, Minecraft is an extremely popular game making millions of pounds worth of profit, with millions of players, and that single man now has an entire company that is working on several more games as we speak (well, type.) That isn't indie.

They're not indie any more? Excellent, it's finally OK to hate them.

lacktheknack:

aPod:
Notch is just saying he isn't indie anymore so nobody whines when he charges for DLC, he's just one of the boys now. Deal with it.

Actually, he said he would charge for DLC from near the beginning, so you're just being cynical for the sake of being cynical.

Not really, it was a joke. I don't play minecraft so I don't actually follow what Notch has said in regards to it.

Mrmac23:

Zen Toombs:
I'm slightly confused by this. Methought that Minecraft was an indie game. Could someone please explain the subtlety that I'm apparently missing?

When Minecraft was brought into existence when it was simply "cave game", it was little more than a tiny project by a single man that had about as many people aware of it as had watched the youtube video on Notch's account. That's indie.

Now, Minecraft is an extremely popular game making millions of pounds worth of profit, with millions of players, and that single man now has an entire company that is working on several more games as we speak (well, type.) That isn't indie.

So being successful makes a game not indie? That seems odd to me.

Every since the whole Notch vs Yogcast thing I can't help reading Notch's comments is a really pompous voice.

Zen Toombs:

So being successful makes a game not indie? That seems odd to me.

I agree, I don't think "indie" as it applies to music applies to games.

I would define an "indie" game as a game that fulfills two criteria:

1) A game independently produced without a publisher (as many people have noted) and a AAA budget

2) A game which tries to break conventions and/or push boundaries.

they may not be indie as its usually thought of but they are not beholden to one of the publishers either and as such i propose we refer to them as a "independent developer" kinda emphasizing the fact that they are a grown up company

Well, I would still prefer independent developers, regardless of their size. Without the pressure of shareholders or publishers, they have the creative freedom to make games that are simply enjoyable.
They might lack the assetts to produce blockbuster titles like Deus Ex or Battlefield, but I find myself to enjoy minecraft or Terraria for way longer then , say Spacemarine or even Civilisation V.

I hope Mojangs example will be copied over time to put pressure on companies like Vivendi or Activision. As of right now, the market is way too cozy for the giants, so they get away with mindless sequels and cookie cutter shovelware.

I think he may be making this announcement more for other indie devs, than for his fans. A lot of indie devs tend to get quite passionate about what constitutes "indie" and he would probably gain a lot of resentment if he continued to label himself as "indie".

This is great! Minecraft deserves to be recognized as more than just an indie game. I hope it only the best as to progressively get more and more fun!

P.S. Dear Notch, please give me my account(s) back. I paid for Minecraft twice and twice my account has been deemed "invalid". =(

Aside from the definition, I have always imagined it like this

Indie developers: They do what they can with little resources using creativity.
Mainstream developers: Always trying to push budgets and engines.

didnt this game stop being indie years ago?

Good to see Notch has his head screwed on about this. Though in a philosophical sense, I'd like to see Mojang stay Indie, in that they aren't tied down by what a money hungry publisher wants to see shoehorned in to ramp the sales up.

MY INDIE CRED NOOOOOOOOOoooo!!
(-14 hipster points)
WAIT! Now I can say I played minecraft before mojang was a big corporation!
(+25 hipster points)

Indie should mean independent. Without a publisher.
Mojang is still indie in that sense. The only difference between Mojang, Valve and other indie developer is that the first two have millions to invest in their projects, while the other like... noting.

Yeah....I'm pretty sure when we talk "Indie" we're talking "Self-funded/without a major investor/backer/Publisher".

So unless he's found some new investors or gone public, his "Indie-status" (and "indie-cred") is still firmly intact.

So now the fans can stop using "it's indie" as an excuse. Step up your game, Notch.

well you heard him, there not indie any more, so its no longer cool, we can stop playing now

Kapol:
I've always wondered what most people considered 'indie.' Is it mainly working without some financial backing, without a publisher, or is it just being 'a small group working on something.'

Either way, I suppose it doesn't matter in the end. The way Notch seems to define means that he isn't indie anymore, which... oh well. Being 'indie' does make a difference as long as the game is good.

I've always used the term to describe devs without a publisher. So I've always thought of Valve as indie. So really it doesn't make all that much of a difference.

Technically, it means not having a publisher...Technically EA is indie.

during last two weeks i have tried minecraft.... and it was more than i expected. sure its not best game ever or something. but it has its charm. i have to respect it for a single reason, it has proven my point that graphics mean nothing when you got good gameplay.

personally, indie stands for independant maker for me. one that doesnt have to answer to publisher, investor or any similar entity. in that sense, minecraft is still indie.

mariofan1000:
Technically, it means not having a publisher...Technically EA is indie.

EA IS the publisher, EA itself doesnt develop any games. it has studios thatt do that. some studios are named after it like EA sports.

I love Mojang they are a great studio.
*Reads article*
I hate Mojang they are total sell outs who just cash in on the mainstream market now, not like the good old days when they had principles.

Considering the update schedule that Minecraft recieves I'd be hard pressed to even call them a game company anymore.

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