Notch Says Mojang Is No Longer 'Indie'

What's a developer got to do to be indie? Strike out on their own? Be poverty-stricken? Say no to big publishers? The definition of indie will differ from person to person, but for the creator of Minecraft, Markus "Notch" Persson, not being a millionaire helps.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Notch said that he no longer considers Mojang to be indie by conventional standards.

"We have other stuff which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games," he said.

"We make sure me and Jakob [Porser] are only focusing on game development, so the founders are still developing. But as a company, I don't think we are indie in the sense that I used to mean it. But in the other sense of indie — as in we make games we want to play without having any external dependencies — then yeah, we're indie."

Notch told PC Gamer that the meaning of "indie" has changed since the days of the garage programmer who made games and released them for free — there days, money is often involved and it's considered the norm.

Do you think that studios bringing in as much money as Mojang are still indie? What do you think characterises an indie developer/development team? Let us know!

[PC Gamer]


Comments

    Indie these days (in all things, books, films and games) seems to be at least as much about attitude and content as it is about funding and creative process.

    In my opinion, 'Indie' is a feeling with no clear boundaries.

      I would further add that 'indie' also bears with it a connotation of personal connection. This wasn't made by a studio or conglomerate; it was made by one (or a very few) people who basically do their own marketing and reach out directly to consumers. Or at least, that's how it seems :)

      Honestly the way I react to the word indie is "We're poor so we need our own category so we can get more attention". If that sounds harsh I'm sorry, but that really is the way it seems to me.

      I don't go on Steam, browse through the games, and think "Ooh! Indie games? I wonder what they're like?". They're just computer games, they're not different from other games in any way aside from the fact that they have an "Indie" category slapped on the box.

        I think that's a fair enough assertion, I personally disagree, I think upon looking on steam there's a distinct difference between indie games and other games, though I do think the line has been blurred to a great extent, in part because even indie games have been monetized at this point, which I'm still unsure whether I'm happy about or sad about, maybe both.

        What about this. Indie games aren't raped by a publisher before launch. And the good ones are often very polished. Maybe for that they deserve a separate category?

          So I guess by that definition any Valve game is an Indie game?

        I laughed because it's true - it is just a "category" to get attention, having said that I'm glad Mojang kinda realise they've hit the big time and it would be bizarre to think of it as independant in one sense - even though in the strictest sense and independant game maker would be any dev who was not owned by a publisher - in which case there are quite a few independant developers around the place.

    Well there's a revelation - MC hasn't been 'indie' for a very long time. Notch was just riding that horse as far as he could.

    I'd say the term varies depending on media.

    Indie music - sure, it isn't SonyBMG or another major label, and they tend to be "alternative" or "experimental" (ie: non-mainstream) artists, they're generally fairly niche, very new, and very non-commercial.

    Indie games, to me, tends to represent a generally cheaper, non-polished game that was released for a small audience that might be into their niche game, and they weren't linked to a major publisher or studio. Essentially, up-and-comers.

    Mojang? They're a studio/publisher now. I'd say if you've clocked in millions, have several games on the go, are working in collaboration with Penny Arcade, attempt to buy out other developers, rent your own jet for travel, and host your own Con? You're not indie.

    You're also not indie when you're fairly mainstream.

    Mojang haven't been indie for quite a while now.

    Just like in music, indie means independent. It means they are not owned or invested in, therefore controlled, by a huge publisher (or record company). Any other association, such as the kind of game made or who started the business, is purely circumstantial. The circumstances can make for some interesting results, but indie doesn't mean you *are* quirky or original or anything else, it just means you might not get your ideas squashed by investment bankers.

    I figure that means the term "its an indie game" can no longer be used to describe the game's flaws. :P

    Stopped being indie when they sold out (by making a minecradt exclusivity on x-box) to microsoft

    I think the term Indie tends to be far tied up the fact that most independent studios tend to bring in very little money. Being Independent of course allows for more developer freedom and thus results in games that you could perhaps say are more crafted (no pun intended) than developed.

    Indie games to me are any game that puts design and original ideas ahead of making money or appealing to the largest common denominator, so in this sense I think Mojang are still very much indie; they just have had the good fortune of making a product that was extremely successful.

      Indie is a shortform of "independence" or "independent"; it may refer to:
      -Indie game, published outside mainstream means

      Nope sorry, the sell outs are not indie

        Yes, but mainstream design is completely different to 'indie' design; or at least being independent allows developers to explore the ideas that aren't seen as commercially viable.

        So again, in my opinion at least, Indie has very little to do with how much money is in the company or incoming for sales, it's all about how developers approach the creation of games.

    If they are not indie anymore, does that mean they'll start offering customer support?

    Myself and many others, have lost access to our accounts. I know all the details of my account, but minecraft does recognise the username or email. There's no support, no refunds, no joy.

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