Notch “Somewhat” Worried about PC Platform Becoming Owned by Steam
Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson has some concerns about a single entity like Steam monopolizing the PC distribution market and hopes for a future in which more games can be self-published, like his own.
A year ago, Notch explained why Minecraft wasn’t on Steam, explaining how it limited Mojang’s business model options:
Being on Steam limits a lot of what we’re allowed to do with the game, and how we’re allowed to talk to our users. We (probably?) wouldn’t be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place on minecraft.net that works with steam customers in a way that keeps Valve happy. It would effectively split the Minecraft community into two parts, where only some of the players can access all of the weird content we want to add to the game.
Since then, Steam has evolved to a point where those concerns have vanished. Will Minecraft, then, come to Steam? Speaking with PC Gamer, Notch said:
It seems like pretty much all the things we wanted to do are possible on Steam now, which is brilliant! Since I made that blog post, Minecraft has kept growing very fast (and it selling faster than ever), which combined with us not being on Steam leads to some potentially interesting strategic positions. I’m not quite sure what those are, but we’re a bit wary to submit Minecraft to Steam without knowing more about what we want to do.
As much as I love Steam, I do somewhat worry about the PC as a gaming platform becoming owned by a single entity that takes 30% of all PC games sold. I’m hoping for a future where more games can self-publish and use social media and friends to market their games. Perhaps there’s something we could do to help out there? I don’t know. If nothing else, we might work as an inspiration for people to self-publish.
It’s probably obvious from this reply, but we’re trying to figure out what we want to do long term with the position we have now. We only recently decided to stay as independent as possible and cancelled an unannounced project that we were doing in collaboration with someone else. It’s going to be an interesting future.
According to Mojang’s handy stat-tracking system, 10,975 people bought Minecraft in the last 24 hours, so the game continues to see success without Steam. The question is — how much more success would it be seeing if it were on Steam?