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Markus Persson

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Markus Persson
Notch receives the Pioneer Award at GDC 2016 (cropped).jpg
Persson at the 2016 Game Developers Conference
BornMarkus Alexej Persson
(1979-06-01) 1 June 1979 (age 39)
Stockholm, Sweden
ResidenceBeverly Hills, California, U.S.
Other namesNotch
Known forMinecraft
Elin Zetterstrand
(m. 2011; div. 2012)

Markus Alexej Persson (Swedish: [ˈmarkɵs ˈpæːʂɔn] (About this soundlisten); born 1 June 1979),[1] also known as Notch, is a Swedish video game programmer and designer. He is best known for creating the sandbox video game Minecraft, and for founding the video game company Mojang, alongside Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, in late 2010.

Persson's principal venture for founding Mojang was Minecraft, which gained popularity and support since its tech demo in 2009.[2] Since the release of Minecraft, Persson has gained significant notability within the video game industry, having won multiple awards and establishing relations with the industry's figureheads.[3] Persson retained his position as the lead designer of Minecraft until the game's official launch in 2011, after which he transferred creative authority to Jens Bergensten.[4] In November 2014, he left Mojang after its acquisition by Microsoft for $2.5 billion.[5]


Persson was born in Stockholm,[6] Sweden, to a Finnish mother and a Swedish father on 1 June 1979.[7] He lived in Edsbyn for the first seven years of his life[8] before his family moved back to Stockholm.[9] He began programming on his father's Commodore 128 home computer at the age of seven.[10] Having experimented with various type-in programs he produced his first game at the age of eight, a text-based adventure game.[8][10] Professionally he had worked as a game developer for King for over four years, until 2009.[8][10] Afterwards he worked as a programmer for Jalbum.[11] He is also one of the founders of Wurm Online,[12] though he no longer works on it.[11] Outside of work, he has made seven games for competitions.[11] He is the central figure of Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, a documentary by 2 Player Productions about the rise of Minecraft and Mojang.



Persson's most popular creation is the survival sandbox game Minecraft, which was released on 18 November 2011.[13] Persson left his job as a game developer to work on Minecraft full-time until completion. In early 2011, Mojang AB sold the one millionth copy of the game, several months later their second, and several more their third. Mojang hired several new staff members for the Minecraft team, while Persson passed the lead developer role to Jens Bergensten. A version for Android and iOS, the Pocket Edition, has also been released. An Xbox 360 edition of Minecraft was released on 9 May 2012. The Xbox edition features updates including a tutorial and skin packs.[14] He has stopped working on Minecraft after a deal with Microsoft to sell Mojang for $2.5 billion. This brought his net worth to US$1.5 billion.[15]


Persson and Jakob Porsér came up with the idea for Scrolls including elements from board games and collectible card games.[citation needed] Persson noted that he will not be actively involved in development of the game and that Porsér will be developing it.[citation needed] Persson revealed on his tumblr blog on 5 August 2011 that he was being sued by a Swedish law firm representing Bethesda Softworks over the trademarked name of Scrolls, claiming that it conflicted with their The Elder Scrolls series of games.[16] On 17 August 2011, Persson challenged Bethesda to a Quake 3 tournament to decide the outcome of the naming dispute.[17] On 27 September 2011, Persson confirmed that the lawsuit was going to court.[18] ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks, announced the lawsuit’s settlement in March 2012.[19][20] The settlement allowed Mojang to continue using the Scrolls trademark.[21]


Following the end to his involvement with Minecraft, Persson began pre-production of an alternate reality space game set in the distant future in March 2012. On April Fools' Day, Mojang launched a satirical website for Mars Effect (parody of Mass Effect), citing the lawsuit with Bethesda as an inspiration.[22] However, the gameplay elements remained true and on 4 April, Mojang revealed 0x10c (pronounced Ten to the C) as a space sandbox title.[23] Persson officially halted game production in August 2013. However, C418, the composer of the game's soundtrack (as well as that of Minecraft), released an album of the work he had made for the game.[24]

Ludum Dare entries

Persson has also participated in several Ludum Dare 48-hour game making competitions.[25]

  • Breaking the Tower was a game Persson developed for the entry to the Ludum Dare No. 12 competition.[citation needed] The game takes place on a small island, where the player must gather resources, construct buildings, and train soldiers in order to destroy a large tower on this island. The game received brief gaming media attention.[26][27]
  • Metagun is a 2D platformer created for Ludum Dare no. 18.[28]
  • Prelude of the Chambered is a game Persson developed for the entry to the Ludum Dare No. 21 competition. Prelude of the Chambered is a short first-person dungeon crawler video game.[citation needed]
  • Minicraft is a game developed for Ludum Dare No. 22, held 16–19 December 2011.[29][30] It is a small top-down game with similarities to Zelda and influenced by Minecraft. It is written in Java.[citation needed]

Twitter controversies

Starting around 2017, Persson began receiving criticism for political and social opinions he expressed on Twitter. In July 2017, he tweeted in support of a heterosexual pride day. After facing community backlash, he deleted the tweets and walked back his statements, writing in one tweet, "So yeah, it's about pride of daring to express, not about pride of being who you are. I get it now."[31] Critics said his follow-up tweets were "half-baked apologies."[32]

In August 2017, Persson received criticism for a series of tweets suggesting the possible truth of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which claims members of the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, were involved in human trafficking and running a child sex ring from a pizzeria. When asked to clarify his position by a reporter, Persson indicated that he did not necessarily wholly support every component of the Pizzagate theory, but pointed out several components that he found plausible; he suggested that the illegal behavior might be "drugs and collusion" rather than a child sex ring.[33][34]

In November 2017, Persson was criticized for posting a tweet that read, "It's ok to be white." In follow-up tweets, he said he believed privilege is a "made up metric." Critics of Persson said his message was "tone-deaf" and "ignorant"; The Root called the tweets a "white-privilege meltdown."[35][32]

In popular culture

In the video game FTL: Faster Than Light, one of the random default names that the crew can have is 'Notch'.[36] The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim features a unique item called the "Notched Pickaxe", named after Persson.[37]

Persson made an appearance in the movie Minecraft: The Story of Mojang.

In 2014, he joined alongside Arin Hanson, Brian Wecht and Dan Avidan to provide backing vocals for one of the tracks on their album Player Select, titled "Minecraft is for Everyone!" which parodies Minecraft.

Persson has been written about extensively by Linus Larsson [sv] and Daniel Goldberg [sv] in Minecraft and Minecraft, Second Edition, the English language translations have been published by Seven Stories Press.[38]

Personal life

Persson is a member of the Swedish chapter of Mensa[39] and also makes electronica music.[citation needed]

On 13 August 2011, Persson married Elin Zetterstrand, who goes by the nickname "Ez" in the Minecraft community.[citation needed] On 15 August 2012, he announced that he was now single.[40]

Persson has criticized both piracy[41] and the stance of large game companies on piracy;[42] additionally, he is a member of the Swedish Pirate Party.[43] Persson is an atheist, and cited his theological and moral views as one of the principal donors to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) during the Thanksgiving charity event of 2011.[44] Under his direction, Mojang contributed a week to developing Catacomb Snatch for the Humble Bundle Mojam, for which the $458,248 raised would be donated to charity.[45]

In May 2012, Persson expressed his views towards Electronic Arts and their release of the "Indie Bundle", calling them a "bunch of cynical bastards". "EA releases an 'indie bundle'? That's not how that works, EA", he said, "Indies are saving gaming. EA is methodically destroying it."[46] On 19 December 2012, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that Persson had donated $250,000 to the EFF's Defend Innovation project.[47] On 25 March 2014, Persson announced that an Oculus Rift version of Minecraft will never happen after Facebook bought Oculus, stating that "Facebook creeps me out".[48][49]

In September 2014, Persson announced that he, along with fellow Minecraft co-founders Jakob Porser and Carl Manneh, would be leaving Mojang after completing the sale of the company to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.[50][51]

In December 2014, Persson purchased a new home in Trousdale, outbidding the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z, to acquire the mansion for $70 million - a record breaking sales price for Beverly Hills at the time. The home came completely furnished—from Hermès chairs and throws, to Roberto Cavalli sheets, to 24 Cavalli-designed $3,700-per place settings, to a one-of-a-kind living room set designed by Bentley. Celebrity agent Sally Forster Jones represented Persson in the deal.[52]


  1. ^ Persson, Markus (29 May 2009). "Turning 30 is scary". Tumblr. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  2. ^ Ashdown, Jeremy (11 November 2010). "This is Minecraft". IGN. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  3. ^ Thomas, David (29 November 2011). "How the Creator of Minecraft Developed a Monster Hit". Wired. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  4. ^ Grant, Christopher (2 December 2011). "Notch steps down as lead developer on Minecraft to focus on 'new project'". Joystiq. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Daniel; Larsson, Linus (2 June 2015). "The Unlikely Story of Microsoft's Surprise Minecraft Buyout". Wired. Condé Nast.
  6. ^ Persson, Markus (17 October 2012). "Twitter / notch: Wikipedia has a policy that ..." Twitter. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  7. ^ Cat_Fernim (21 September 2011). "20 Things You Might Not Know About Notch". IGN. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b c 2 Player Productions (8 November 2013). "Minecraft: The Story of Mojang". YouTube. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  9. ^ Peisner, David (7 May 2014). "The Wizard of Minecraft". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Handy, Alex (23 March 2010). "Interview: Markus 'Notch' Persson Talks Making Minecraft". Gamasutra. Retrieved 26 June 2010. my first own program when I was eight years old. It was an extremely basic text adventure game
  11. ^ a b c Clark, Kristoff (5 March 2012). "MINECRAFT MASTERMIND MARKUS PERSSON TO RECEIVE BAFTA SPECIAL AWARD". Gamasutra.
  12. ^ McDougall, Jaz (29 July 2010). "Community heroes: Notch, for Minecraft". PC Gamer. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  13. ^ Liebl, Matt (18 November 2011). "Minecraft Release Date and Time Officially Announced". GameZone.
  14. ^ "Announcing 'Arcade Next'". Major Nelson. 22 March 2012.
  15. ^ "Minecraft founder Markus Persson: From 'indie' tech champion to potential billionaire on Microsoft deal". Retrieved 11 September 2014. He’s also collected more than US$100 million in dividends since 2011, which would give him a total net worth of US$1.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
  16. ^ Webster, Andrew (10 August 2011). "Elder Scrolls vs. Minecraft dev: "scrolls" is our word". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  17. ^ Schreier, Jason (19 August 2011). "Minecraft maker jokingly calls Quake challenge "poor choice," vows fight". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  18. ^ Persson, Markus (27 September 2011). "Twitter / notch: The Scrolls case is going to ..." Twitter. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  19. ^ Parrish, Kevin (12 March 2012). "ZeniMax, Mojang Settle "Scrolls" Dispute". Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  20. ^ Persson, Markus (29 September 2011). "The eventual release, and the legal documents". Tumblr. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  21. ^ Orland, Kyle (12 March 2012). "Bethesda, Mojang settle trademark dispute over Scrolls name". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  22. ^ Fields, Rebecca (31 March 2012). "MINECRAFT CREATOR SCORES APRIL FOOL WITH 'MARS EFFECT'". Shadowlocked. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
  23. ^ Knapp, Alex (3 April 2012). "Mojang Registers Website For Its New Game '0x10c'". Forbes.
  24. ^ Andy Chalk, Minecraft composer releases 0x10c tracks, muses on Notch's departure from Mojang, PC Gamer, 17 September 2014.
  25. ^ Persson, Markus (2011). "Notch Ludum Dare". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  26. ^ Rossignol, Jim (20 August 2008). "Breaking The Tower". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  27. ^ Tim W. (19 August 2008). "Browser Game Pick: Breaking the Tower (Markus Persson)". Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  28. ^ Meer, Alec (26 August 2010). "Person Shooter: Metagun". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  29. ^ Bradford, Matt (20 December 2011). "Markus "Notch" Persson creates Minicraft in two days". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  30. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (19 December 2011). "Notch makes Minicraft in two days". Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  31. ^ Morris, David Z. (July 2, 2017). "Minecraft Creator Sparks Cries of Homophobia". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  32. ^ a b Scott, Grace Lisa (November 30, 2017). "Creator of Minecraft Markus Persson Tweets 'It's ok to be white". Inverse. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  33. ^ Byrne, Brian Patrick (August 28, 2017). "Minecraft Creator Alleges Global Conspiracy Involving Pizzagate, a 'Manufactured Race War,' a Missing Tabloid Toddler, and Holistic Medicine". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  34. ^ Valens, Ana (August 30, 2017). "Minecraft's Notch thinks bogus Pizzagate conspiracy theory has some merits". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  35. ^ Judge, Monique (November 30, 2017). "'Minecraft' Creator Goes Full White Man Denying White Privilege on Twitter". The Root. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  36. ^ Dazz. "FTL: Faster Than Light". VGFacts. Retrieved 2017-08-02. The random default names for the crew were given by people who had pledged to the game's Kickstarter. Two notable default names are: Notch, creator of Minecraft, and Vitas Varnas, actor, occasional Game Grumps contributor, and writer for VGFacts and Did You Know Gaming?
  37. ^ "Notch Responds to Minecraft-Themed Pickaxe in Skyrim - GameZone". 3 October 2012.
  38. ^ "Books | Seven Stories Press". Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  39. ^ Högberg, Jonas (1 December 2010). "Minecraft kan bli fyra gånger större" (in Swedish). Aftonbladet. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  40. ^ Persson, Markus (15 August 2012). "Twitter / notch: As of today, I am single. ..." Twitter. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  41. ^ Persson, Markus (6 April 2011). "IAmA indie game developer who made a commercially successful game. AMAA". reddit. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  42. ^ Edwards, Tim (2 March 2011). "Notch on piracy: "if a pirated game is a lost sale, should bad reviews be illegal?"". PC Gamer. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  43. ^ Enigmax (3 March 2011). "Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don't Exist, Says Minecraft Creator". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  44. ^ Morris, Kevin (5 December 2011). "Reddit atheists upvote fundraising for Doctors Without Borders". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  45. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (20 February 2012). "Humble Bundle Mojam raises nearly $500k for charity". Eurogamer.
  46. ^ Good, Owen (3 May 2012). "Minecraft Creator Calls Electronic Arts a 'Bunch of Cynical Bastards'". Kotaku. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  47. ^ Jeschke, Rebecca (19 December 2012). "EFF Patent Project Gets Half-Million-Dollar Boost from Mark Cuban and 'Notch'". Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  48. ^ Martin, Graham (26 March 2014). "Oculus sold for $2bn to Facebook". News Statement. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  49. ^ Persson, Markus (25 March 2014). "Twitter / notch: We were in talks about maybe ..." Twitter.
  50. ^ Crecente, Brian (15 September 2014). "In the shadow of a $2.5 billion deal, one famed game dev slips away". Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  51. ^ Collins, Barry (16 September 2014). "Why Microsoft was forced to buy Minecraft". Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  52. ^ Carlyle, Erin (December 18, 2014). "'Minecraft' Billionaire Markus Persson Buys $70 Million Beverly Hills Contemporary with Car Lift". Forbes.

External links