Minecraft has broken XBLA day-one sales records, but the playing field may not be entirely level.
Exact sales numbers aren’t available, but Microsoft has confirmed that Minecraft has broken the day-one sales record set by Trials Evolution last month. Markus “Notch” Persson quickly took to his Twitter feed to announce that the game was profitable within an hour of going on sale.
Fez developer, Polytron, seemed confused as to how Notch had gained access to sales data so quickly.
“How did you get those stats from MS?” asked Polytron. “We still don’t know exactly how much Fez sold almost a month later. You get stats in 24 hours?
“What? Really? I thought it was standard procedure! That sucks. :(,” Notch responded.
Polytron then added that the 360 version of Minecraft will be getting free updates, while every other XBLA developers are required to charge for content updates.
Notch replied: “We had to fight for that, and we got a limited number of them. Not sure why they don’t like it.”
Presumably this is a sign of how desperate Microsoft was to get Minecraft onto the 360, rather than a herald of some unannounced policy shift. Of course, Minecraft was always going to be a huge hit regardless of Microsoft’s input, as the numerous knock-offs clustered at the top of the Xbox Live indie chart can attest to.
Microsoft’s refusal to allow free updates to games has been a sticking point for a number of developers – such as Valve, which chose to simply stop supporting Team Fortress 2 on the 360 rather than charge for content updates. Gabe Newell went on label Xbox Live policies “a train wreck.”