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 Minecraft  Draws Over $33 Million In Revenue From 1.8M Paying Customers
Minecraft Draws Over $33 Million In Revenue From 1.8M Paying Customers
April 6, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

April 6, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
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    23 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Indie mega-hit Minecraft continues to grow in popularity, with new sales breakdown data from creator Markus "Notch" Persson suggesting the game has made over $33 million in revenue so far.

Responding to a question on a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" thread, Persson broke down the game's sales so far, separating roughly 800,000 alpha version sales at the introductory €9.95 price point from over 1 million beta version sales at €14.95.

The Minecraft stats page currently lists 1,813,527 paying customers for the title, which would put the total revenues for the game at over €23 million, or just over $33 million.

In the Reddit answer, Persson notes that this net revenue is reduced by Paypal fees and taxes, as well as unmentioned distribution costs. "But it's still a huge wad of money," he notes.

Minecraft reached the one million paid customer milestone in January, less than a month after the beta release and roughly seven months after the alpha release.

Elsewhere in the wide-ranging interview thread, Persson admits to feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the Minecraft's massive success.

"I've always had a tendency to feel like I'm just not quite keeping up with demands, even before starting work on Minecraft," he said. "It's not gotten better by having a runaway hit like this."

Persson also offered advice to his fellow indie game designers. "Start with just making games to get used to it," he said. "Focus on the details. What makes a jump animation feel good? What is a good main menu? Try to finish a few projects."


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Comments


Maurício Gomes
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I think everyone envy the guy and want to get even 1% of his money from their own sales or work.

Kevin Trepanier
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Paypal made a million bucks with this game!

Kamruz Moslemi
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After the ridiculously high paypal fees and the exuberant Swedish tax law I think he is lucky to have walked away with 1/3 that amount. Still, a man can make a good living for the rest of their life off of that money, so unless he is planning on doing anything big, like starting a large studio, he is set for life, the indie dream.



Yet, I cannot shake the feeling that since about 2005 I have been witness to an disturbing rise in instances of game properties succeeding whose success I simply just cannot fathom. It is a strange age we live in.

Maurício Gomes
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Don't complain of swedish taxes until you meet brazillian tax system...

Kamruz Moslemi
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Who is complaining, Sweden is an amazing country for it, in fact whole of Scandinavia is model for the world to learn from.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I'm completely with you Kamruz. Minecraft, TinyWings, even Angry Birds, Farmville. Never saw any of them coming. While the first three aren't _terrible_ games and are in fact fun (haven't played Farmville), it's hard to wrap your head around them being sooooooo successful. Pareto principle in effect I guess, which is a shame because Notch doesn't strike me as working particularly hard compared to other indie developers and even admits that he did not expect this success. Not a shame that he got so much money mind you, just a shame that so few games take up all the attention-space and prevent so many other games that are just as well done from even getting noticed.



Okay, yes, I'm jealous :)

Christian McCrea
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Minecraft lets players be creative and is accessible. Very few games have hit that balance and the game will go on to sell many more than 1.8 million I think.

Kamruz Moslemi
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Looking at this title specifically I cannot detect any logical reason why it found such landslide success as opposed to the hundreds, if not thousands of other solid indie efforts out there.



If I were a indie developer, and I was looking at this phenomenon with a hand permanently rubbing my chin I, for the life of me, could not draw any valuable lessons from it.



In fact this is sort of a recurring theme in that field, there are an abundance of quality offerings by creative and inspired individuals that just fester below the radar. Whenever one of these manages to jump above that baseline level I imagine every indie out there will pay attention to see if there is anything to learn from the popularity, any patters, and best practices, yet, for the most part it just seems really random.



If you only pay attention to the few that make it would be easy to conclude that they achieved their feat by just being very good, but there are so many other titles out there that are very good but never get the same success.



Anywaste, it just seems like indies fall and rise according to the whims of the sisters of fate. Perhaps that is not such a bad thing as it so far has prevented the dreaded lemming minded trend based behaviour that we so often see in the more established venues.

Patrick Dugan
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Sweden is an agency whose business model is producing extremely talented game developers.

Jonathan Jou
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Take that, $.99 iTunes App Store! If you'd only started off ranking games by revenue and review instead of sales, there wouldn't be a whole breed of gamers who would look at MineCraft and wonder why they should pay a whole dollar for it.



(I kid. I'm sure Minecraft would succeed on a phone, given the interface and screen estate issues were solved. But I'm also pretty sure a $15~$21 price tag would NOT have put it in the top ten in that lovely, saturated iPhone market. Funny how it took off on the far, far more heavily saturated PC market instead, huh?)

Matthew Mouras
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It knew it's audience and delivered what they wanted on the PC. Amazing sales though. What a ride!

Kyle Orland
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iTunes actually also measures game sales by total revenue (including in-app purchases) with its "top-grossing" charts. We run them here every week. Here's the latest one: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/33972/TopGrossing_iTunes_Apps_
Tap_Zoo_Overtakes_Angry_Birds_Rio.php

Robert Lee
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I hope this screams loudly to publishers that games don't necessarily have to have the latest and greatest graphics to be a huge success. You don't get much lower res than Minecraft (blocks). It's all about the gameplay.

Arnaud Clermonté
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Tell that to gamers.

Publishers are simply trying to appeal to them.

It's gamers and reviewers who demand the latest and bestest graphics.

Publishers' job is to give gamers what they ask for.

E Zachary Knight
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Arnaud



Tell that to the 1.8 million people who bought Mincraft.



Yes there is safety in the status quo and there are millions of people who love to buy "Latest FPS: More Killing 10" but there are just as many people who are looking for unique and innovative gameplay.

Maurício Gomes
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When you consider that AAA games that sell 2 million copies sometimes are still regarded a failure... No.

Arnaud Clermonté
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Now what exactly would I achieve by telling that to people who bought "Mincraft" ?

What effect do you imagine it would have?



And no, there's not "just as many people". The latest Call of Duty sold more than 20 million.

Chris Melby
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MW2 sold about 12 million from what I read, which is still fantastic, but not even half of the most recent Mario Kart.

E Zachary Knight
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Arnaud,



You say gamers only want what is currently being sold as AAA content. I am saying that 1.8 million people disagree with that view point. The people who paid for Minecraft are people who tire of playing the same old same old from AAA developers.

Tore Slinning
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that tells you something about a screwed up profit margin.

JB Vorderkunz
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Time will tell if this is an aberration or not: if the content doesn't scale up with audience investment, then it will eventually fail. I know players who are starting to get impatient about the pace of development given the cash he's taken in already...

Aaron Burton
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That's epic.

Tim Johnston
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I cant tell you how encouraging this is to us indie designers. Truly inspirational. Go Minecraft!


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