Most games don’t make more money in their fourth year of existence than any of the previous three, but Minecraft isn’t like most games.
Minecraft developer Mojang of Sweden made $326 million in revenue in 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s up from $128 million in 2012. The block-building game’s continued success was the biggest driver of this performance — its sales made up over 90 percent of Mojang’s total revenue. Minecraft is now available and selling well on PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Android, and iOS. It shows that certain games can transcend the limitations of the different platforms to find an audience. Only games like the free-to-play behemoth Candy Crush Saga and triple-A console releases like Grand Theft Auto V performed significantly better than Minecraft.
Minecraft was the top-selling premium-priced game on both Android and iOS; its Xbox 360 disc version was the ninth best-selling game of the year at U.S. retailers; and its original PC version recently crossed 14.6 million total sales. Mojang confirmed that the PC version is still its biggest money-maker, accounting for 38 percent of its sales in terms of dollars. Xbox 360 and PS3 made up 30 percent together, and the mobile versions generated a quarter of its revenue. PlayStation 4, Vita, and Xbox One ports of Minecraft are due out this year. Merchandising and the collectible-card battler Scrolls (which is still in beta testing) accounted for the remaining 7 percent.
As for Minecraft creator and Mojang co-owner Markus “Notch” Persson — who is no longer actively involved in the game’s development — made more than $100 million from Minecraft in 2013, according to the WSJ report.
Despite Minecraft’s sustained success, Mojang does have other projects in the works, but don’t expect them out any time soon.
“Financially speaking, we have no pressure whatsoever to rush into any new projects,” Mojang chief executive officer Carl Manneh said. “Besides, we have no outside owners that require us to reach any particular goals.”
Mojang operates under private ownership.
Minecraft first debuted in 2009 in an early, unfinished version for the PC. Mojang sold it at a reduced price through that period until its 1.0 release in 2011. The game always had a dedicated following, but it has caught on with children in recent years who are picking up the game on mobile or Xbox 360 before graduating to the more feature-rich PC release.