“It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”
That’s how Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson closed a blog post detailing his decision to leave his studio, Mojang, after selling it to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. The article largely points to the block-building game’s gargantuan success and the stress that came with it as his primary reason for leaving.
“I don’t see myself as a real game developer,” Persson wrote. “I make games because it’s fun and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either.”
Persson also said that the negative response from the Minecraft community over a end-user license agreement led to his departure. Server owners reacted negatively when Mojang disallowed the selling of items that affected gameplay. Persson had said that some users had gotten nasty with their complaints to him. He even tweeted in frustration that he wanted to sell his shares in Mojang following the ordeal.
“Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol,” Persson wrote. “I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.”
Persson will now focus on small web experiments. It seems like the last thing he wants to do is make another hit. “If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”