Valve attempted to recruit Notch while he was working on Minecraft, but Mr. Persson politely declined.
Marcus ‘Notch’ Persson has become a kind of Robin Hood figure within the videogame community. The Minecraft creator isn’t shy about ridiculing big-name publishers like EA, and, last year, he handed out $3 million of his own cash to the other employees at Mojang. But Notch’s career almost took a very different path.
According to a passage from Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, Valve took an interest in Notch while Minecraft was still in beta. Persson was invited to visit Valve’s headquarters in Kirkland, WA where he met with Gabe Newell and was offered a development position. But Notch politely declined. “Somehow, I felt that Minecraft was maybe my chance to create a Valve, rather than work at Valve,” Notch remembers.
Declining Valve’s offer was difficult for Markus. Minecraft had become moderately successful by that point, but Notch was fearful that it wouldn’t last. In fact, he had just recently quit his day job to focus on gaming.
It’s probably safe to say that Notch made the right decision, though. Minecraft has sold over 33 million copies, and its popularity continues to grow. Plus, Notch managed to grab the second position on the 2013 edition of the TIME 100 Poll, which puts him ahead of people like Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and Gabe Newell (who didn’t even make the list).