Notch / Wikimedia Commons
“Minecraft” creator Markus “Notch” Persson was given a rarified spot on the 2013 Time 100 list and quickly rocketed to the top of its online voting polls.
Having already conquered the PC gaming market, what’s next for the indie game wunderkind “Minecraft?”
Apparently, the world. At least, that’s according to the readers of Time magazine (or, really, anyone on the Internet with an interest in promoting a particular candidate), who have made “Minecraft” creator and Mojangco-founder Markus “Notch” Persson the second most influential person in the worldin early voting for the publication’s annual “Time 100” rank.
According to the official poll — the voting for which ended Friday — Notch currently has 156,549 votes saying that he should “absolutely” be included in the Time 100 list, while 18,647 voted “no way.”
Notch is second only to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, and just above Mega creator and Internet icon Kim Dotcom.
Following the magazine’s tradition, readers are invited to cast their votes for the “leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world” from a list of 100 people provided by the magazine. The final ranking, however, is decided by Time’s editors rather than the general public — or at least the part of it that goes online to vote on these kinds of things.
That might explain why Notch, while currently outranking global figures like Barack Obama (who is ranked 12th), Kim Jong Un (ranked 6th), and Pope Francis (22nd), probably won’t succeed the 44th President of the United States as Time’s person of the year.
Still, it’s notable in its own right that a video game developer was included in the Time 100 list at all, given the medium’s relative underrepresentation compared to other areas of art, technology, and entertainment that have dominated the list in recent years. Notch stands alongside other tech icons like Dotcom and Jack Dorsey, musicians like Psy and David Bowie, and television stars like Lena Dunham and John Hamm, showing how far video games have come in recent years to be accepted not only as a viable commercial industry but also as a legitimate field of cultural and artistic inquiry.
It is curious why Time chose Notch in particular over other industry icons like Ken Levine or Gabe Newell, who was recently honored with a prestigious fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) just last month. But if Notch’s popularity in the early polls means anything to magazine’s editors, the 2014 Time 100 list may include more than one game developer.
Seeing how the company hinted that it would give players horses once “Minecraft” reached 10 million PC sales, the real question “Minecraft” fans are all probably asking right now is what new toys Mojang might be bringing to the game now that Notch has made it into the Time 100.
“Minecraft,” the independent video game marvel that allows players to build their own worlds out of Lego-like 3D blocks, is a game about endless expansion. Gamers can create buildings, characters, and stories seemingly out of thing air (with the help of a console, of course), and even host their own servers to better manage virtual environments between them and their friends.
Turns out, “Minecraft’s” world is expanding in more ways than one. Developer Mojang studios announced today that its runaway hit has reached 10 million sales on computers alone. And while this number is impressive in its own right, it doesn’t even reflect the full extent of “Minecraft’s” unprecedented growth since the game was first released as a raw alpha version nearly four years ago. Since then, the game has also been ported to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 as well as Android and iOS mobile devices for a “Pocket Edition.”
This is the latest example of Mojang proving that there is a viable alternative to the AAA game industry for independent developers. Much like the recent incarnation of MOBAs as an enormously profitable type of PC gaming, “Minecraft” has shown the financial and cultural promise of a thriving indie scene. Just last year, Mojang said that it would double its profits based on sales of “Minecraft” alone. When the game first debuted on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), it broke all of the app store’s sales records, reaching 400,000 sales in just 24 hours. For a point of comparison, Activision’s commercial juggernaut “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” sold some 7.5 million copies in its first month on the market last year, according to figures from the market research group NPD.
Making good on a promise to give players a hint of what’s to come in the world of “Minecraft” in its next update once the game reached 10 million sales, the game’s head developer Jens Bergensten posted a picture of a horse on Twitter late last night. Does this mean that “Minecraft” players will soon to be able to recreate “All The Pretty Horses”—or, better yet, the “Ride of the Rohirrim” from “Lord of The Rings?” Probably. But the real beauty of “Minecraft” for its many fans is that the game lets them create pretty much whatever they want, so the real promise of “Minecraft” horses is probably best left to the imagination until the chunkily pixelated creatures are put into the game world for all to experiment with.
The Xbox 360 version of the game also recently added a new area known as “The End,” along with several updates promised to make the console version of “Minecraft” more similar to the free-for-all nature of the PC version. The company also announced recently a subscription-based service known as “Minecraft Realms,” which was designed to provide “a safe and easy way for kids and families to play ‘Minecraft’ online,” according to a statement from Mojang CEO Carl Manneh given to the website Game Industry.
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