Notch opens up about the Microsoft "sellout"

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It was a tremendous surprise when Markus Persson sold Mojang to Microsoft, not just because it was hard to imagine him walking away from the creation that brought him so much success, but because he did the deal with a company he'd previous held in such disdain. After all, it was only a couple of years prior that he accused Microsoft of "trying to ruin the PC as an open platform." But sometimes people change their minds, and the man they call Notch said in a lengthy and very interesting interview with Forbes that that's exactly what happened here—and that he's not ashamed of his decision.

Persson said he'd been having a rough time for quite awhile before the sale, but it was the strong negative reaction to Mojang's announcement about cracking down on the worst of Minecraft EULA violations—the "literally worse than EA" days—that drove him to tweet his initial interest in selling the company. He said it was originally intended as a "half-joke," but when Microsoft very quickly contacted Mojang CEO Carl Manneh to find out if Persson was serious, the wheels began to turn. Interestingly, Persson said he was never actually involved in the process; negotiations took place entirely between Manneh and Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer.

Since the buyout, Persson hasn't been shy with his money, reportedly spending as much as $180,000 in a single night at Las Vegas nightclubs. But he said he's just making up for the time he spent programming when he was in his 20s. "Partying is not a sane way to spend money, but it's fun," he said. "When we were young we did not have a lot of money at all, so I thought, if I ever get rich I'm not going to become one of those boring rich people that doesn't spend money."

As for the future, he's not concerned about matching, or even approaching, the success of Minecraft. He and Mojang co-founder Jakob Porsér have launched a new venture called Rubberbrain, but he admitted that there's not a lot going on so far. "It’s like a daycare for us," he said. "Grown-up daycare."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.