Markus Alexej Persson
1 June 1979
(m. 2011; div. 2012)
Markus Alexej Persson (Swedish: [ˈmǎrkɵs ˈpæ̌ːʂɔn] (listen); born 1 June 1979), 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 in 2009.
Persson's principal venture for founding Mojang was Minecraft which gained popularity and support since its tech demo in 2009. Since then, he has gained significant notability within the video game industry, winning multiple awards and establishing relations with the industry's figureheads. He 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. He had continued to work on Minecraft until he left Mojang in November 2014, after its acquisition by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Microsoft eventually dissociated from Persson following controversial comments regarding topics such as race and gender on his Twitter account.
Persson was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to a Finnish mother and a Swedish father on 1 June 1979. He lived in Edsbyn for the first seven years of his life before his family moved back to Stockholm. He began programming on his father's Commodore 128 home computer at the age of seven. Having experimented with various type-in programs he produced his first game at the age of eight, a text-based adventure game. Professionally he had worked as a game developer for King for over four years, until 2009. Afterwards he worked as a programmer for Jalbum. He is also one of the founders of Wurm Online, though he no longer works on it. Outside of work, he has made seven games for competitions. 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 is a member of the Swedish chapter of Mensa. On 13 August 2011, he married Elin Zetterstrand. On 15 August 2012, he announced that he was single again.[non-primary source needed]
Persson has criticized both piracy[non-primary source needed] and the stance of large game companies on piracy; additionally, he is a member of the Pirate Party of Sweden. He is an atheist and has donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Under his direction, Mojang contributed a week to developing Catacomb Snatch for the Humble Indie Bundle; the $458,248 raised was donated to charity.
Persson's most popular creation is the survival sandbox game Minecraft, which was first publicly available on 17 May 2009 and fully released on 18 November 2011. 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. He 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.
Persson and Jakob Porsér came up with the idea for Scrolls including elements from board games and collectible card games. Persson noted that he will not be actively involved in development of the game and that Porsér will be developing it. 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. On 17 August 2011, Persson challenged Bethesda to a Quake 3 tournament to decide the outcome of the naming dispute. On 27 September 2011, Persson confirmed that the lawsuit was going to court. ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks, announced the lawsuit's settlement in March 2012. The settlement allowed Mojang to continue using the Scrolls trademark.
Cliffhorse is a humorous game programmed in two hours using the Unity game engine and free assets. The game took inspiration from Skyrim's physics engine, "the more embarrassing minimum-effort Greenlight games", Goat Simulator, and Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. The game was released to Microsoft Windows systems as a honorware early access game the start day of E3 2014, instructing users to donate Dogecoin to "buy" the game before downloading it. The game accumulated over 280,000 dogecoins.
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. However, the gameplay elements remained true and on 4 April, Mojang revealed 0x10c (pronounced Ten to the C) as a space sandbox title. 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.
Ludum Dare entries
- Breaking the Tower was a game Persson developed for the entry to the Ludum Dare No. 12 competition. 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.
- Metagun is a 2D platformer created for Ludum Dare no. 18.
- 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.
- Minicraft is a game developed for Ludum Dare No. 22, held 16–19 December 2011. It is a small top-down game with similarities to Zelda and influenced by Minecraft. It is written in Java.
Persson has received criticism for political and social opinions he expressed on Twitter, such as referring to feminism as a "social disease" and claiming that most feminists are "overtly sexist against men." In June 2017, Persson faced criticism for referring to video game developer Zoë Quinn as a "cunt". Later in June 2017, he tweeted in support of a heterosexual pride day, calling opponents to the idea "cunts" and suggesting that they "deserve to be shot". 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."
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". In March 2019, he was criticized for endorsing the QAnon conspiracy theory and calling transgender women mentally ill. These controversies led to the creation of the "Hatsune Miku created Minecraft" internet meme, which sprung up due to a viral tweet and was created by fans of the game in order to show support for Minecraft while distancing themselves from Persson.
A March 2019 Minecraft update silently removed references to Persson from the game's menu, though his name is still in the credits. Microsoft did not specify the exact reasons, but the timing of the removal led multiple news outlets to conclude it was related to the controversial tweets. Persson was not invited to be part of the Minecraft tenth anniversary event later that year, with Microsoft saying that his views "do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang". Microsoft then dissociated from Persson due to his controversial comments on his Twitter account.
- Persson, Markus (29 May 2009). "Turning 30 is scary". Tumblr. Archived from the original on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- Ashdown, Jeremy (11 November 2010). "This is Minecraft". IGN. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- 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.
- Grant, Christopher (2 December 2011). "Notch steps down as lead developer on Minecraft to focus on 'new project'". Joystiq. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- Goldberg, Daniel; Larsson, Linus (2 June 2015). "The Unlikely Story of Microsoft's Surprise Minecraft Buyout". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- Fields, Sarah (30 April 2019). "Minecraft Creator Notch Not Invited to Anniversary Due to Controversial Tweets". Game Rant. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- Persson, Markus (17 October 2012). "Twitter / notch: Wikipedia has a policy that ..." Twitter. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- Cat_Fernim (21 September 2011). "20 Things You Might Not Know About Notch". IGN. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- 2 Player Productions (8 November 2013). "Minecraft: The Story of Mojang". YouTube. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- Peisner, David (7 May 2014). "The Wizard of Minecraft". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- Handy, Alex (23 March 2010). "Interview: Markus 'Notch' Persson Talks Making Minecraft". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
my first own program when I was eight years old. It was an extremely basic text adventure game
- Clark, Kristoff (5 March 2012). "MINECRAFT MASTERMIND MARKUS PERSSON TO RECEIVE BAFTA SPECIAL AWARD". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 27 November 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- McDougall, Jaz (29 July 2010). "Community heroes: Notch, for Minecraft". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- Högberg, Jonas (1 December 2010). "Minecraft kan bli fyra gånger större". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Persson, Markus (15 August 2012). "Twitter / notch: As of today, I am single". Twitter. Archived from the original on 20 August 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Persson, Markus (6 April 2011). "IAmA indie game developer who made a commercially successful game. AMAA". reddit. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Edwards, Tim (2 March 2011). "Notch on piracy: "if a pirated game is a lost sale, should bad reviews be illegal?"". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Enigmax (3 March 2011). "Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don't Exist, Says Minecraft Creator". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 30 August 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Morris, Kevin (5 December 2011). "Reddit atheists upvote fundraising for Doctors Without Borders". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (20 February 2012). "Humble Bundle Mojam raises nearly $500k for charity". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 27 November 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- Carlyle, Erin (18 December 2014). "'Minecraft' Billionaire Markus Persson Buys $70 Million Beverly Hills Contemporary with Car Lift". Forbes. Archived from the original on 22 June 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- "Minecraft was released 10 years ago. Do you feel old?". Tampa Bay 10 News. 17 May 2019.
- "Minecraft founder Markus Persson: From 'indie' tech champion to potential billionaire on Microsoft deal". Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. 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.
- Webster, Andrew (10 August 2011). "Elder Scrolls vs. Minecraft dev: "scrolls" is our word". Archived from the original on 29 August 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- Schreier, Jason (19 August 2011). "Minecraft maker jokingly calls Quake challenge "poor choice," vows fight". Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- Persson, Markus (27 September 2011). "Twitter / notch: The Scrolls case is going to ..." Twitter. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- Parrish, Kevin (12 March 2012). "ZeniMax, Mojang Settle "Scrolls" Dispute". Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Persson, Markus (29 September 2011). "The eventual release, and the legal documents". Tumblr. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- Orland, Kyle (12 March 2012). "Bethesda, Mojang settle trademark dispute over Scrolls name". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- Khaw, Cassandra (9 June 2014). "'Minecraft' creator's new game makes a statement with weird horse physics". The Verge. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- "Minecraft creator accepts Dogecoin donations for new game". the Guardian. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- Savage, Phil (9 June 2014). "Notch's new game is Cliffhorse. It's free, and features cliffs and a horse". PC Gamer. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- "Notch launches Cliffhorse, a game about horses on cliffs". Engadget. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- Fields, Rebecca (31 March 2012). "MINECRAFT CREATOR SCORES APRIL FOOL WITH 'MARS EFFECT'". Shadowlocked. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
- Knapp, Alex (3 April 2012). "Mojang Registers Website For Its New Game '0x10c'". Forbes. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- Andy Chalk, Minecraft composer releases 0x10c tracks, muses on Notch's departure from Mojang Archived 23 October 2019 at the Wayback Machine, PC Gamer, 17 September 2014.
- Persson, Markus (2011). "Notch Ludum Dare". Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- Rossignol, Jim (20 August 2008). "Breaking The Tower". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
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- Meer, Alec (26 August 2010). "Person Shooter: Metagun". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Bradford, Matt (20 December 2011). "Markus "Notch" Persson creates Minicraft in two days". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (19 December 2011). "Notch makes Minicraft in two days". Eurogamer.net. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Bonazzo, John (13 June 2017). "Minecraft Creator Tells Women on Twitter 'Act Like a Cunt, Get Called a Cunt'". Observer. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
- Kane, Vivian (29 April 2019). "Minecraft's Creator Excluded From the Game's 10th Anniversary Due to Racist, Sexist, Transphobic Comments". The Mary Sue. Archived from the original on 16 May 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
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- Nast, Condé. "The Creator of 'Minecraft' Tweeted Some Dumb Stuff About Race". GQ. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Asarch, Steven (11 March 2019). "Minecraft Creator Markus "Notch" Persson Says Trans Women Aren't Women". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 13 June 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
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