Talk about crazy: indie mega-hit Minecraft isn't even out of beta, and it's already raked in over $33 million USD in revenue so far-- even after PayPal fees and taxes. In fact, during the alpha stage, Minecraft sold roughly 800,000 copies at the introductory price of €9.95. Once it went beta, the game sold over 1 million additional units at €14.95 a piece. Eventually the final product will sell for €20.00, but in its present state, Minecraft has already enlisted 1,813,527 paying customers without offering a single demo to test-drive.
According to a mini-Q&A over on Reddit, Minecraft creator Markus Persson started work on the PC game back in 2009, and immediately began to see a profit just months after the alpha launch. Towards the end of 2010, Persson teamed up with two friends and launched a studio to provide better support for the "runaway hit" while gearing up to develop another title.
Given that, has Minecraft's success been overwhelming? "I've always had a tendency to feel like I'm just not quite keeping up with demands, even before starting work on Minecraft," Persson admitted. "It's not gotten better by having a runaway hit like this. It would be nice to "kick back", but I'd just end up developing games again, so it kinda wouldn't change anything if I did that. I'm still genuinely developing Minecraft out of passion for the game. If that ever changes, I probably SHOULD hand over the reins to someone else."
Eventually he goes on to offer hopeful game designers advice, saying that they should start making games just to get used to it. "Focus on the details," he said. "What makes a jump animation feel good? What is a good main menu? Try to finish a few projects. The language you choose only matters once it comes to distribution. If you want to end up on consoles, you pretty much have to write the game in C or some variant thereof."
Persson said he got into programming after his father purchased a Commodore 128 for the family when he was seven years old. He essentially took over the computer and started learning the language of code after subscribing to an unspecified computer magazine. "We get most of our entertainment (movies and tv series) in English with Swedish subtitles, so we learn English pretty fast," he added. "We also learn it in school from a young age."
And how did he lure in the initial players? After all, Minecraft doesn't use the traditional means of advertisement. "I posted about the game on a few forums I used to frequent, and people from there started playing it," he said.
Nearly 2 million paying customers later, Persson and his team are sitting on a pile of money with no end to the revenue in sight. To read the full unofficial Q&A, head over to the Reddit thread here.
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