EA Drools In Minecraft’s Direction, But Notch Ain’t Havin’ It.
Minecraft has already proven itself the little game that could. In less than 18 months the game has managed to generate an impressive 80 million smackers from their dedicated army of fans. But there’s money, and there’s screw you MONEY, and while 80 million might sound like a lot to you and I, it’s literally valet tip change for the truly big names in the industry, like Activision, or Electronic Arts. Then again, those guys make their bankroll from gobbling up energetic smaller companies and
watering down monetizing their products. Which is why it was inevitable that one of them would turn a hungry eye toward Mojang and begin ostentatiously smacking their lips.
It looks like first up to the plate is Electronic Arts. In an interesting interview with Gamasutra, Electronic Arts CCD Rich Hilleman admitted he likes what he sees in Minecraft’s way of doing things, and wants EA to get a piece of the action. But in a rare twist, he’s talking about doing it for free. Possibly.
What I’ve told the guys who run Origin for us is that we should do it for free, because as you can see my vision of that business, that’s not where the money comes from anyway.
As somebody who has had to reinstall Windows on my son’s computer after he attempted to install Mod Manager on that machine, there’s a lot of value to be provided for the customer in making Minecraft and its mods and installations something that’s a more commercial and predictable product. Those are the kinds of things that Notch needs help with, and that without the help of a publisher or other support, he’s probably not going to get there completely by himself.
Now maybe his community will, and I’d love to see that happen. It’s a great experiment; I’m really anxious to see what happens. The reason I wish we were involved is because I think we’d learn from him. And the other thing that’s true is Notch is a true talent of this business; I just like us being associated with great talent.
Now this might seem like a means of EA gaining some street cred; I mean, no one really thinks they’d let it be free for long, right? But what’s hilarious though is that even in this interestingly optimistic framework, Hilleman couldn’t help but accidentally tip EA’s super villian hand.
RH: My favorite television show of all time is Deadwood… What Deadwood taught you more than anything else — and anybody who went to a California school learned this too — is that the people who made money from the gold rush were not the gold miners. It was guys named Levi Strauss and Crocker, and folks who ran banks, and people who sold jeans, and sold picks and axes.
I think ultimately in the long term that the money that will get made in Minecraft will not be about Minecraft, but will be about the services and products that get introduced into it. And so that’s what’s most interesting to me about Minecraft, is that the ecosystem, it’s almost an American history lesson.
Ok, he is right to love Deadwood. It was basically perfect. But… yeah, when you mention your favorite show, then cite people who would almost certainly be villains on the show as your role models, we hope you’ll forgive people for thinking “ruh roh”. I’m pretty sure we were supposed to see what he described as an unfortunate truth, not as the reason the west was awesome. Fortunately, Notch has apparently also seen Deadwood, and he tweeted an appropriate response to Hilleman’s verbal leering: “I’m sure EA is very successful at monetizing games, but the more we don’t do what they would do, the happier I am. #nooffense”. Well played.