Editorial

Notch: Don't be a hypocrite about Minecraft and Windows 8

An open letter to Markus "Notch" Persson:

Dear Notch

Let me start out this note by saying I am a huge admirer of yours. You came up with a game, Minecraft, and almost single-handedly it has caught on like no other PC game before or since. The sandbox adventure game is still selling thousands of copies, via download, per day on the PC and has racked up 7.5 million paid PC downloads so far.

Once more, the game is a true "indie" title; it has a unique look and gameplay that is not "commercial" by any means. Yet, it's so addicting that Minecraft creations made by others still astound me and others on the Internet.

That said, I was shocked to learn about your feelings toward Windows 8 today. It came from your own Twitter account when you stated, "Got an email from microsoft, wanting to help 'certify" minecraft for win 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the pc as an open platform." Then you posted a follow up, saying, "I'd rather have minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to win 8 that way."

Look, there's no doubt that Windows 8 is a major change for Microsoft's PC OS. We can debate about the pros and cons about the Metro Modern UI until the cows come home. That's fine. But to say that you don't want to see Windows 8 run Minecraft at all seems, at least to me, to be a massive over reaction to the OS and its features.

Windows 8 is just as open as it has been. Microsoft is still letting developers make programs that can be run on the desktop UI with no need for a Windows Store or certification to have them published. That isn't changing. It's kind of like objecting to buying a new car because it has an option to run diesel fuel as well as regular gasoline.

Let's not forget the fact that Microsoft has tried to launch its own direct download game store in the past with Games for Windows Live. Yes, it was, and still is, horrible, but that feature didn't stop you from launching Minecraft on the PC.

Your views might be more understandable if the PC version of Minecraft was the only one available. But that isn't the case at all. You and other team members have been happy to port Minecraft to other platforms, including Android, iOS and the Xbox 360.

Apple is pretty much the king of the closed PC platforms. This is the company that won't let anyone else make Mac PCs. Yet, Microsoft is still going to allow anyone who wants to build a PC from scratch a way to get an OEM copy of Windows 8. You have a very successful version of Minecraft on the Mac and iOS platforms. You didn't have a problem with Apple's closed systems policy when you launched the iOS or Mac versions.

And let's not forget the Xbox 360 version, which you admitted has already sold millions of copies since it launched earlier this year. Microsoft controls everything on the Xbox dashboard, but you were more than happy to offer up a port of Minecraft for the console. Let's not forget that Microsoft likely gets a nice percentage from every copy of Minecraft sold on the Xbox 360.

Windows 8, even with the Metro Modern UI and the Windows Store, is still the second most open platform there is for Minecraft (Linux is technically the most open). I have no problems with you debating what works and what doesn't in Windows 8 itself. But saying you don't want Minecraft to run on Windows 8 because of an "open platform" issue just doesn't make any sense.

At best, your attitude sounds like someone who is afraid of anything "new". At worst, your words make you look like a total hypocrite when you and your team at Mojang have benefited greatly from having Minecraft sold on closed platforms like iOS and the Xbox 360.

You need to explain your viewpoints on Windows 8 more clearly. At the moment, your opinions are in direct contradiction to your actions.

Sincerely and with the most respect:

John

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

RIM records losses; entry level BlackBerry 10 phone coming?

Next Story

Adobe cryptographic key recalled after compromise

134 Comments - Add comment