How Minecraft Turned its Developer into a Billionaire


Minecraft is a three-dimensional sandbox video game that was designed and created by Swedish game designer Markus “Notch” Persson. He began developing the game as a project inspired by other popular games such as Dungeon Keeper, Dwarf Fortress, and Infiniminer. He wanted to create an isometric 3D building game inspired by his visions. He already had some prototypes ready.

The style of gameplay for Minecraft was heavily influenced by Infiniminer. The blocky visuals, building block style and the first-person aspect were all taken from Infiniminer. To add on that, Persson wanted to include RPG elements in Minecraft.

The first version of the game was released to public on 17 May 2009 on the TIGSource forum. It was later known as the Classic version. To improve on the version, several milestones dubbed as Indev and Infdev were later released between September 2009 and February 2010. Several updates were also released in between these milestones.

When the first major update was released on 28 June 2010, it was named the alpha version. At that time, Persson had a day job which he later quit to work full time on Minecraft as the sales expanded post the alpha release. He continued to update the game and these updates were distributed among the users automatically. These mini updates included new mobs, new mode, new items, survival mode and changes in gameplay.

To support the incredible development of Minecraft, the developer used the money raised from the game to set up a full-fledged video game company and named it Mojang. By the end of 2010, Persson announced the release of Minecraft’s beta testing phase. He mentioned that all the updates and bug fixes leading to the release of beta phase would be free for the existing users.

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The game was finally moved from the beta version and the full version as released on 18 November 2011. Since the release, the game has been updated constantly with numerous changes ranging from new server to new game content. Several developers were taken on board to improve various aspects of the game to make it popular worldwide.  Jens “Jeb” Bergensten replaced Persson as the leading developer of Minecraft.

Persson soon announced that Microsoft Corporation has bought his share of the game and now they were the new owner of Mojang. The deal was completed on 6 November 2014 and Persson became one of Forbes’ World’s Billionaires.

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