The popular free roaming building-focused game Minecraft has gone from being a sleeper hit to an international phenomenon within its five-year lifespan. So it’s not so much of a revelation that Mojang, the company behind the game, had doubled its profits in 2013 and earned US$130 million.
The Wall Street journal article (via Games Industry International) stated that the company’s revenue in 2013 was up 38 per cent from 2012’s US$240 million to US$316 million. Thirty eight per cent of its total revenue came from the PC version of Minecraft, while 30 percent was from console ports and 25 per cent came from mobile versions. Mojang CEO Carl Manneh commented that the company’s revenue had yet to decline, since most games usually experience a slight drop in revenue a year after launch.
That’s well and good, but the kicker to all this is that the company has to pay license fees to the game’s co-creator and current Minecraft IP rights holder Markus “Notch” Persson. The damage would amount to US$130 million if his last payment in 2012 was of any indication.
Just a refresher course: Minecraft started out as a beta around 2009 before it was officially released in 2011. Because of its art style, sandbox gameplay and fully-customisable nature, critics and gamers were really into it. Since then, the game had numerous ports on consoles and portable devices. It even spawned a convention called MineCon and a LEGO toyline; oh, and also a dozen or so imitators from different indie developers.