Notch On Why Minecraft Still Isn’t On Steam

Notch On Why Minecraft Still Isn’t On Steam

Very rarely do you hear Indie developers being critical of Steam. PSN, yes. Xbox LIVE, definitely. But Steam? Notch hasn’t necessarily been critical of Steam, but Minecraft has been conspicuous by its absence, and Notch has once again elaborated on the specific reasons why he’s decided to keep it off the service.

“As much as I love Steam, I do somewhat worry about the PC as a gaming platform becoming owned by a single entity that takes 30% of all PC games sold,” said Notch, in a statement sent to PC Gamer. “I’m hoping for a future where more games can self-publish and use social media and friends to market their games. Perhaps there’s something we could do to help out there? I don’t know. If nothing else, we might work as an inspiration for people to self-publish.”

People can self publish now, and it is relatively easy, but there are massive benefits from having your game on Steam. That said, Notch has a point about the dominance of Steam — is this a positive thing for PC gaming, and gaming as a whole?

Notch on why Minecraft still isn’t on Steam [PC Gamer]


  • Yep, Steam is for the best. If it wasn’t a HUGE step forward from retail, then it never would have become dominant in the first place.

    Also, 30% cut is a lot less than what retail costs were. It means less money spent for consumers, and more money earned by the companies.

    • A lot less than what PSN and XBLA charge too. That 30% cost covers advertising, distribution, insurance on fraudulant purchases, piracy prevention. It’s actually a pretty damn good deal I reckon.

    • A step forward from retail doesn’t make it what’s best. Retail is a pretty lousy situation for PC so even Games for Windows could be considered a massive step forward. Steam is great but there’s always that whole ‘if it wasn’t Valve it’d be terrible’ aspect. Imagine the Games for Windows Live or Origin had Steam’s total dominance of the digital distribution marketplace. Imagine… *shudder* Ubisoft ran the only serious distribution outlet online.
      It’s sort of like how Google can completely violate your personal space and it’s a-ok, but if Bing even thought about it you’d be walking around in a tin foil hat for the rest of your life.

      • I agree with this:

        ‘if it wasn’t Valve it’d be terrible’

        still, as long as Gaben is alive, I will happily buy my stuff mostly from Steam

        • But that’s just it, as long as the current management continue to manage as they are now things should be fine, but IF for some reason in the future that changes either by new management or a policy change by management then we’re left with a retailer in a near monopoly position because no one could compete initially. We might be happy with steam but will our children be so lucky?

          • We’re very lucky with Valve. They’re a good company that’s proud of their good reputation and ran by people that legitimately care about their role in the games industry more than making money. The thing is I would have said that about Blizzard ten years ago. Blizzard aren’t monsters but the trust is certainly gone. There’s plenty of retail stores that started off as great, pro-gamer stores only to turn into monsters once they started making serious money.
            As long as Gabe is on deck we’re fine but that won’t always be the case. I hate to rip on the guy for being fat but if he has a heart attack tomorrow Steam could potentially be choking the life out of the PC games industry by 2017.

    • I have pretty much all my PC games on steam these days. While I fined the program quite good and I’ve never had an issue with Valve I have to agree with Notch that it’s not a good Idea to let them completely dominate PC distribution. Some competition is very rarely a bad thing and a monopoly is rarely good.

    • Except he’s not saying “I won’t support any platform that takes a 30% cut”. If there’s no Minecraft in the Apple Store, you can’t get Minecraft on an iPod or iPad. If there’s no Minecraft on Steam, there’s still many other systems in place that they can use to distribute to PC users.

      • So he is saying he wont support Steam because it’s turning into the only place to get PC games from, but yet he supports the Apple App Store? (By selling Minecraft through it)

        That doesn’t sit right with me, if you are against a single entity controlling a platform and taking a cut, then you are against the App Store model, but yet here we are, with MineCraft available on the App Store!

        Just my opinion, I don’t have anything against Notch/Mojang but it grinds my gears when people make statements that contradict what they do.

  • Why are people talking about a 30% cut? He says market dominance. As in, 3 in 10 games are sold on Steam. Unless I missed something.

    That said, I’m anti-monopoly with few exceptions, but Steam as it’s being run now is one of those exceptions. Don’t really have any data, but it’s doing pretty good in the ‘Customers first’ department from what I can tell.

    • The 30% refers to the cut Steam take from your sales. eg. if I sell my game for $100, Steam takes $30 for the privilege of being on their service, advertising, hosting, legal issues etc.

      It’s quite reasonable when compared to the retail model. But I worry about the future and a monopoly. Competition is always good. Origin is not competition, so Steam is on its own for now.

  • Ahh, so that’s why Minecraft isn’t on iOS either, because they take 30% of each sale. Oh wait…

    Sarcasm aside, I am actually finding this a little hypocritical. Steam still needs to run as a business, and provides a service in giving you a distribution platform and mechanism for pushing out updates and patches to users, as well as providing an API to integrate a lot of Steam’s features into your game. Given how well Minecraft is already doing, I don’t really see what the hang up is other than principles.

  • How much of a cut is that compared to other online retailers anyway? 30% seems like quite a big chunk.

    • 30% really isn’t that big of a cut considering all the services the Steam/Valve provide once your game is made available, including advertising, hosting, piracy prevention etc.

      Most online retailers generally do not offer these kinds of services, unless you pay extra and that only really covers advertising anyway.

  • He could self-publish and release on steam though, which makes me think the whole self-publishing thing is more about not having to pay the 30%.

  • I don’t wanna sound ignorant but I’ve been avoiding Minecraft because I know I will get addicted… If I had an advert on steam with an easy link to buy every time I loaded my pc I would have paid for the game already…

  • Steam is not analogous to the AppStore.
    He’s saying that PC has the advantage of being open – and having Steam becoming the only place to get games turns that openness into the closed Apple eco-system.
    I don’t see any hypocrisy in his statements. He just wants the idea of non-Steam publishing (which has been VERY successful for him) to be considered an option for devs.

    • There’s boatloads of hypocrisy in his statements. Always has been….or just outright greed and laziness.
      Like that time he informed people of how to get around a block on the pirate bay, but then said “please don’t pirate minecraft”. Or how he promised a great deal of things to be implemented during the alpha and beta phases of minecraft, but then went off on non-stop holidays, leaving the people who bought minecraft based on those promises empty handed.

    • Microsoft don’t have a monopoly in the console space.

      At any rate what possible benefit is there for them to put Minecraft on Steam, none, the game is already well known, has made a tonne of money and all without a third party taking a cut. Yes he put it on xbox – but that accesses a market that may not play PC games at all and judging by the sales on that platform – it was a smart move.

      • They were deemed to have significant enough monopoly in the OS-Internet browser field to warrant having the company split it to. It was more the discrepancy in underlying attitude I was getting at.

  • Most people seem to be missng the point of Minecraft being available on iOS and XBLA.

    He is anti-Steam because he does not like the idea of being a monopoly over the PC platform. Currently you can get games from almost anywhere on PC. That being said, Xbox and iDevices are limited to their own market place and that’s it, for legitimate users. The choice there is either go through the owner or don’t have the game available at all. However on PC you don’t have to go through Steam

    • But by selling out to Microsoft he is supporting monopolies. The only difference I see is that he makes a hell of a lot of money by selling out to Microsoft.

  • What a hypocrite, if he truely believed in his own philosophy of “competition is good and supporting monopolies is bad” he would not have released the pocket edition on iOS. All this guy cares about is cash in the end. He just doesn’t want to pay steam the 30% charge for each game sold which would actually be a bonus to existing and new minecraft players.

  • No Notch, you fail to understand that PC gaming needs a monopoly platform like Steam to strengthen it. It makes it easy for developers, and easy for gamers.

  • i always thought the reason why minecraft wasn’t on steam is because of all the updates that minecraft recieves.

    Down at the root of things it does sound like that Notch doesnt like the 30% cut which Steam takes, which i can see the reason why but only if minecraft was just released, now Minecraft has made millions of dollars and has made notch a wealthy man.

  • The only thing that could stop Steams dominance would be for Gabe to drop dead of a heart attack, lets face it he’s a prime candidate if I ever saw one. After loosing Gabelinda, the good fairy gaming queen of the north, my fear is who we will be stuck with.

    I would vote for Notch to be Gabes inheritor, he seems at least a good match for Steams ethos.

  • I use Xbl and psn because I have to, I use steam because it’s convenient. All my game files go in one place automatically, I like the mod support and I’m sick of have some games in folders, some on the desktop and some in the dumb windows “games” section. It’s convenient, cheap and I can use it anywhere in the world. Why the hell wouldn’t I want steam? It’s pretty much the only reason I haven’t tried out minecraft yet.

  • It is being a hypocrite that he sold it to Microsoft and Apple, but not to steam. I know he doesn’t want steam to be the “One Stop Shop” for PC gaming, but fact of the matter is, he sold his idea to Microsoft and Apple. Which makes it so users do not go to his Domain anymore, they go through them. I understand why he is standing against Steam. I actually agree with him. I would LOVE to see people stand up against big business and be independent. But if you’re going to say that, then do not go with Microsoft and Apple. The one biggest and over inflated fish in the pond.

    Btw I like Notch. I think he’s a cool guy and doesn’t stiff the consumer. He actually said that he didn’t mind if people pirated his game. He just wants people to play it. I respect that. I am merely saying what he said is a little bit of an oxymoron.

    • Seems less hypocrisy and more adapting to different circumstances.

      Microsoft and Apple control their own little worlds, and guard them well. PCs have none of that, and are a much larger market. Perhaps it’s because they already deal with two monolopies for different systems that he’s not keen on another.

  • Looks pretty cool man, think I could put on on a server?
    Here’s my server ip if anyone wants to come check it out!

  • As far as I’m concerned Steam and Valve can have as much as monopoly on the PC market as they like. Couldn’t think of a better platform and/or company to have it.

    That aside, I still honestly think Notch is dirty on the cut Steam takes and he doesn’t see the need to go to Steam because his game was made more famous by personalities such as Simon and Lewis from Yoggscast etc.

    He doesn’t need the advertising but don’t try and mask it as “I’m not interested in supporting a monopoly”, load of rubbish.

  • STEAM is not the best thing to happen to PC gaming. Infact, its the wrost.

    Why? Well, lets look at it.

    1. Its a form of DRM. It always has been. Thats the main reson it exists.

    2. Fanboys of STEAM piret games simply becuse there NOT on Steam.

    3. Less choice. I mean, everyone is so pro-steam that they are anti-everything else. THAT IS BAD. VERY VERY BAD.

    4. NOTHING IS EVER PERFICT. Thinking it is is about as stupied as saying man is the reson for gloabal warming. Its all bull shit, bucuse any smart person knows that climent change happens anyway, with or without man.

    5. Always on line. You have to LOG IN TO GO TO OFF LINE MODE FFS.

    • Number one doesn’t cut it. The concept of DRM isn’t inherently bad. The big issue with DRM is that it doesn’t work yet Steam delivers one of the most comfortable DRM experiences on the market. The unified system means rather than having a hundred systems for a hundred games you’ve got the same one for the majority of your games which in turn makes it much less likely that you’ll encounter problems (at least after your second or third game).
      It’s far from flawless but it’s not like the alternative is DRM free games. If Steam went DRM free tomorrow the developers would simply implement their own, independent systems which would mean more conflicts for players, more technical issues and worse support when something does go wrong.

    • 1. I’m fairly certain Valve are big haters of AGGRESSIVE DRM (inset:

      While the service is still a form of DRM, it’s far, far less intrusive than other methods (and that’s a publishers call on how bad their DRM is…GFWL???)

      2. Got figures? I know more people who purchase steam games legit than pirate. Then again a counter argument with no relevant data is just as stupid to continue with

      3. Most people are pro-steam because it shits on everything else…Origin? Need I say more..

      4. I don’t recall saying steam was anywhere near perfect, but compared to other digital distribution channels, it’s far above in quality and quantity.

      5. Always online is just going to become even more apparent, look at Diablo 3, people need to suck it up and deal with it. Steam isn’t the only channel with this limitation.

  • It’s a silly argument. You can’t have a “retail monopoly” unless you demand exclusivity or can own the platform. Which steam does not . It is extremely easy for a competitor to steam to arise as soon as there’s money in it (cough origin) or they mis-step.

    If you have a game that is huge without steam then sell direct, save the 30% and good for you. But calling it an ethical position rather than the fact you don’t need the service is disingenuous.

    • Exactly, he’s contradicting himself by not even being on steam and being profitable. A few people as of late have been on anti-valve tirades as of late, just screaming the word monopoly over and over. You can release your video game in anyway you choose, you don’t HAVE to use steam; SOME devs just see it as a better option because of the convenience.
      You can release your game on a two bit gaming forum if you really want to with DRM free copies downloaded off Rapidshare if it floats your boat, no one is stopping them. Look at IWBTG it’s free and you can download it off their site, they don’t have any problems with how much money they make and people like that make games for their own passion not to make money. What’s so bad about Valve controlling a digital CLIENT market? (that’s not the only market to sell games)
      They’re an amazing company with 300 people that work their butts off to produce the best products they can, with an structural hierarchy that insures they can work by themselves and they’d probably hire a lot more people if they’re capable.
      The problem some devs have with Steam is that they can’t sell games for $130 bucks and make half a billion in profit. Notch might be angry at Steam because his Minecraft LEGO didn’t sell so well but that’s not Valve’s fault; Just like EA is annoyed because they hire hundreds of people just to stir up hype in places like /v/ and reddit in an attempt to insure their monopolies.
      Companies which can’t survive change starve; it’s survival of the fittest in a business market especially one which evolves as much as gaming. Valve is by no means the bad guy, they’re the little guy and they can’t be bought out. That’s what scares people the most.

  • Not a big fan of Steam myself. I’d rather buy from somewhere like Gamer’s Gate, where the game may cost a little more, but the downloads are faster, the customer support is miles better, the is a loyalty program and the games don’t require a client to load it fat ass into memory while I’m playing.

    My biggest issue with Steam is that the game developers are hard coding a dependency on the service into their executables. Sometimes even the games you buy from other sites, like Gamer’s Gate, still require you to install them through Steam.

    Other Steam issues: terrible customer service, crappy “I’m gunna download a 500GB patch without asking and you can’t use the game until I’ve finished”, crap server speeds in Australia, save game loss due to that god damn Steam Cloud rubbish, and so forth.

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