Who created Minecraft?
The origin story of Minecraft is the story of a little boy named Markus Alexej Persson, a.k.a. Notch, who combined his love of games through Lego and programming. And in Stockholm, Sweden, a game was invented that would become one of the best-selling and wildly popular games in the world: Minecraft.
6 facts about the founder of Minecraft
- Founder: Markus Alexej Persson (*1979, Stockholm)
- Taught himself programming and quickly rose as a programmer
- Connected his childhood joy to Lego with his skills as a programmer
- Created Minecraft (back then known as “Cave game”) in 2009 with worldwide success
- Sold Minecraft / Mojang Studios to Microsoft in 2014 and retired
How everything began with an old Commodore PC and Lego bricks
Persson grew up in the small town of Edsbyn near Stockholm. He was an avid Lego player. When his father bought a Commodore 128 computer, the seven-year-old Persson faked illnesses just so he wouldn’t have to go to school and instead try his hand at computers himself. By the age of eight, he had already written his first computer program. The successful attempt formed the starting point of his later life success as a game developer.
Persson’s career on the developer fast track
His amazing skills did not go unnoticed and he joined king.com as a game developer in 2005. In 2009, he moved to Jalbum as a programmer. However, he left them in 2010 to focus on his own Minecraft project again. He was therefore also a co-founder of Mojang Studios, which drove the development and production of Minecraft.
Minecraft: A game for generations
Initially (2009), Minecraft was called “Cave Game” and represented an “open world” game that is theoretically infinite. The world consists of blocks (similar to Lego building blocks). The game has no set goals, levels, or instructions (so-called “sandbox games“). But the concept of Minecraft was revolutionary at the time: The player must collect all the resources for the construction of, for example, a house. Only then they can get started. Previously, there were mostly only games that focused either on collecting resources or on building. The combination of both elements was new.
Minecraft itself was created by Persson in just one week and released as an “early-access” game. This allowed players to test the alpha version and share their experiences with the developer.
Minecraft’s resounding success in the 2010s
This process guaranteed Minecraft a constant positive development. Thus, Minecraft became one of the rare games that got better and better over time. Also, a growing community began to rally around the game. As a result, the beta version (advanced development version) came out in 2010, and the final game version in 2011. Minecraft became more and more popular and was able to inspire across generations: the game was popular with parents and their children. In addition, the game was equally popular with girls and boys, which was unusual at the time. Until then, Persson, with his alias “Notch”, had been the leading figure and a “gaming superstar” – inside and outside the Minecraft world. Persson, however, withdrew from the creative leadership role of Minecraft already in 2011 and handed it over to Jens Bergensten.
Minecraft inspires millions of players
In 2012, Minecraft was released for the Xbox and sold over one million game units of the game in its first week. In 2014, Persson sold Mojang Studios to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Today, Minecraft is one of the best-selling video games of all time, with over 200 million copies sold and approximately 126 million active users (as of 2020).