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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
Markus Alexej Persson

(1979-06-01) June 1, 1979 (age 41)
Stockholm, Sweden
Other namesNotch
Known forMinecraft
Home townBeverly Hills, California, U.S.
Net worthUS$1.6 billion (June 2019)[1]
Political partyPirate Party
Elin Zetterstrand
(m. 2011; div. 2012)

Markus Alexej Persson (Swedish: [ˈmǎrːkɵs ˈpæ̌ːʂɔn] (About this soundlisten); born 1 June 1979),[2] better 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.[3] Since then, he has gained significant notability within the video game industry, winning multiple awards and establishing relations with the industry's figureheads.[4] 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.[5] In November 2014, he left Mojang after its acquisition by Microsoft for $2.5 billion.[6] Microsoft eventually dissociated from Persson following controversial comments regarding topics such as race and gender on his Twitter account.[7]


Persson was born in Stockholm,[8] Sweden, to a Finnish mother and a Swedish father on 1 June 1979.[9] He lived in Edsbyn for the first seven years of his life[10] before his family moved back to Stockholm.[11] He began programming on his father's Commodore 128 home computer at the age of seven.[12] Having experimented with various type-in programs he produced his first game at the age of eight, a text-based adventure game.[10][12] Professionally he had worked as a game developer for King for over four years, until 2009.[10][12] Afterwards he worked as a programmer for Jalbum.[13] He is also one of the founders of Wurm Online,[14] though he no longer works on it.[13] Outside of work, he has made seven games for competitions.[13] He is the central figure of Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, a documentary by 2 Player Productions about the rise of Minecraft and Mojang.

Personal life

Persson is a member of the Swedish chapter of Mensa.[15] On 13 August 2011, he married Elin Zetterstrand. On 15 August 2012, he announced that he was single again.[16]

Persson has criticized both piracy[17] and the stance of large game companies on piracy;[18] additionally, he is a member of the Pirate Party of Sweden.[19] He is an atheist and has donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).[20] Under his direction, Mojang contributed a week to developing Catacomb Snatch for the Humble Indie Bundle; the $458,248 raised was donated to charity.[21]

In December 2014, Persson purchased a home in Trousdale Estates, Beverly Hills, CA for $70 million, a record sales price for Beverly Hills at the time.[22]



Persson's most popular creation is the survival sandbox game Minecraft, which was released on 18 November 2011.[23] 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. A console edition of Minecraft was released on 9 May 2012 for Xbox 360 and 17 December 2013 for PlayStation 3. The console edition features updates including a tutorial and skin packs.[24] 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.[25]

Caller's Bane

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.[26] On 17 August 2011, Persson challenged Bethesda to a Quake 3 tournament to decide the outcome of the naming dispute.[27] On 27 September 2011, Persson confirmed that the lawsuit was going to court.[28] ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks, announced the lawsuit's settlement in March 2012.[29][30] The settlement allowed Mojang to continue using the Scrolls trademark.[31]

It was later released as a free game titled Caller's Bane.


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.[32] However, the gameplay elements remained true and on 4 April, Mojang revealed 0x10c (pronounced Ten to the C) as a space sandbox title.[33] 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.[34]

Ludum Dare entries

Persson has also participated in several Ludum Dare 48-hour game making competitions.[35]

  • 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.[36][37]
  • Metagun is a 2D platformer created for Ludum Dare no. 18.[38]
  • 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.[39][40] 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."[41][42] In June 2017, Persson faced criticism for referring to video game developer Zoë Quinn as a "cunt".[41] Later in June 2017, he tweeted in support of a heterosexual pride day, calling opponents to the idea "cunt"s and suggesting that they "deserve to be shot".[42] 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."[43] In November 2017, Persson was criticized for posting a tweet that read, "It's ok to be white."[44] In follow-up tweets, he said he believed privilege is a "made up metric".[45] In March 2019, he was criticized for calling transgender women mentally ill.[46] 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.[47][48]

A March 2019 Minecraft update silently removed references to Persson from the game's menu, though his name is still in the credits.[49] 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.[49][50] 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".[7][51]

In popular culture

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim features a unique item called the "Notched Pickaxe", named after Persson.[52]

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 and Daniel Goldberg in Minecraft and Minecraft, Second Edition; the English language translations have been published by Seven Stories Press.[53]


  1. ^ "Markus Persson". Forbes. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  2. ^ Persson, Markus (29 May 2009). "Turning 30 is scary". Tumblr. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  3. ^ Ashdown, Jeremy (11 November 2010). "This is Minecraft". IGN. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Grant, Christopher (2 December 2011). "Notch steps down as lead developer on Minecraft to focus on 'new project'". Joystiq. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Daniel; Larsson, Linus (2 June 2015). "The Unlikely Story of Microsoft's Surprise Minecraft Buyout". Wired. Condé Nast.
  7. ^ a b Fields, Sarah (30 April 2019). "Minecraft Creator Notch Not Invited to Anniversary Due to Controversial Tweets". Game Rant.
  8. ^ Persson, Markus (17 October 2012). "Twitter / notch: Wikipedia has a policy that ..." Twitter. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  9. ^ Cat_Fernim (21 September 2011). "20 Things You Might Not Know About Notch". IGN. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b c 2 Player Productions (8 November 2013). "Minecraft: The Story of Mojang". YouTube. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  11. ^ Peisner, David (7 May 2014). "The Wizard of Minecraft". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ a b c Clark, Kristoff (5 March 2012). "MINECRAFT MASTERMIND MARKUS PERSSON TO RECEIVE BAFTA SPECIAL AWARD". Gamasutra.
  14. ^ McDougall, Jaz (29 July 2010). "Community heroes: Notch, for Minecraft". PC Gamer. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  15. ^ Högberg, Jonas (1 December 2010). "Minecraft kan bli fyra gånger större". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  16. ^ Persson, Markus (15 August 2012). "Twitter / notch: As of today, I am single". Twitter. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  17. ^ Persson, Markus (6 April 2011). "IAmA indie game developer who made a commercially successful game. AMAA". reddit. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Enigmax (3 March 2011). "Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don't Exist, Says Minecraft Creator". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  20. ^ Morris, Kevin (5 December 2011). "Reddit atheists upvote fundraising for Doctors Without Borders". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  21. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (20 February 2012). "Humble Bundle Mojam raises nearly $500k for charity". Eurogamer.
  22. ^ Carlyle, Erin (18 December 2014). "'Minecraft' Billionaire Markus Persson Buys $70 Million Beverly Hills Contemporary with Car Lift". Forbes.
  23. ^ Liebl, Matt (18 November 2011). "Minecraft Release Date and Time Officially Announced". GameZone.
  24. ^ "Announcing 'Arcade Next'". Major Nelson. 22 March 2012.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ Webster, Andrew (10 August 2011). "Elder Scrolls vs. Minecraft dev: "scrolls" is our word". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  27. ^ Schreier, Jason (19 August 2011). "Minecraft maker jokingly calls Quake challenge "poor choice," vows fight". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  28. ^ Persson, Markus (27 September 2011). "Twitter / notch: The Scrolls case is going to ..." Twitter. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  29. ^ Parrish, Kevin (12 March 2012). "ZeniMax, Mojang Settle "Scrolls" Dispute". Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  30. ^ Persson, Markus (29 September 2011). "The eventual release, and the legal documents". Tumblr. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  31. ^ Orland, Kyle (12 March 2012). "Bethesda, Mojang settle trademark dispute over Scrolls name". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  32. ^ Fields, Rebecca (31 March 2012). "MINECRAFT CREATOR SCORES APRIL FOOL WITH 'MARS EFFECT'". Shadowlocked. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
  33. ^ Knapp, Alex (3 April 2012). "Mojang Registers Website For Its New Game '0x10c'". Forbes.
  34. ^ Andy Chalk, Minecraft composer releases 0x10c tracks, muses on Notch's departure from Mojang, PC Gamer, 17 September 2014.
  35. ^ Persson, Markus (2011). "Notch Ludum Dare". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  36. ^ Rossignol, Jim (20 August 2008). "Breaking The Tower". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  37. ^ Tim W. (19 August 2008). "Browser Game Pick: Breaking the Tower (Markus Persson)". Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  38. ^ Meer, Alec (26 August 2010). "Person Shooter: Metagun". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  39. ^ Bradford, Matt (20 December 2011). "Markus "Notch" Persson creates Minicraft in two days". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  40. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (19 December 2011). "Notch makes Minicraft in two days". Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  41. ^ a b Bonazzo, John (13 June 2017). "Minecraft Creator Tells Women on Twitter 'Act Like a Cunt, Get Called a Cunt'". Observer. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  42. ^ a b Kane, Vivian (29 April 2019). "Minecraft's Creator Excluded From the Game's 10th Anniversary Due to Racist, Sexist, Transphobic Comments". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  43. ^ Morris, David Z. (2 July 2017). "Minecraft Creator Sparks Cries of Homophobia". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  44. ^ Crecente, Brian (29 April 2019). "'Minecraft' Creator Excluded From Anniversary Due to 'Comments and Opinions' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  45. ^ Nast, Condé. "The Creator of 'Minecraft' Tweeted Some Dumb Stuff About Race". GQ. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  46. ^ Asarch, Steven (11 March 2019). "Minecraft Creator Markus "Notch" Persson Says Trans Women Aren't Women". Newsweek. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  47. ^ "Microsoft Exclude's Minecraft Creator from 10th Anniversary Event". Pixelkin. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  48. ^ "Miku Created Minecraft: How queer Vocaloid fandom brought a parody account to infamy". Hard Noise. 29 August 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  49. ^ a b Thubron, Rob (28 March 2019). "Microsoft removes references to game creator Notch in latest Minecraft update". TechSpot. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  50. ^ Lanier, Liz (28 March 2019). "Some References to 'Minecraft' Creator Notch Removed From Game". Variety. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  51. ^ Arif, Shabana (29 April 2019). "Minecraft creator Notch won't be included in the game's 10 year anniversary event". VG247. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  52. ^ "Notch Responds to Minecraft-Themed Pickaxe in Skyrim - GameZone". 3 October 2012.
  53. ^ "Books | Seven Stories Press". Retrieved 29 March 2017.

External links