I'm sure there are many here that dream of having their idea be a huge success but aren't really interested in becoming the next Bill Gates or Zuckerberg. They just want to cash out so that they can have their financial freedom and then go out of the limelight and back to doing the same things they enjoy but without having to constantly worry about job security and putting food on the table. Notch achieved this in the most spectacular way possible and I think he handled it perfectly.
I remember watching some parts of notch's livestreams. I loved the enthusiasm he had. He was a bit like a young boy, trying things, throwing some away, creating games. I'm happy for his decision.
Wozniak was unusual in that his story wasn't entertainmnet-related, but most of these "I can't handle the public's demands for my attention" stories come from the entertainment industry.
Unfortunately, Vint Cerf is not close to being a billionaire. Our economic system doesn't award brilliance, it doesn't award productivity, it awards the ability to convince other people to give them more money. I'm not saying that that's totally bad, just that the money chasers scare away some great minds.
There are numerous examples of this in the past 6 months and in Notch's case, it happened with EULA and 3rd party server support.
A community that supports this sort of behavior wouldn't have my support either. I don't blame him.
Is it really fair to characterize this of a specific generation?
> “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” — Socrates
Not that I'm disagreeing with you, however. There comes a point when the amount of vitriol you're receiving isn't worth the success.
What, you don't think that people who have paid for a game client and server have the right to run that client and server? That's Freedom 0, and it's fundamental. Attempting to violate it with any sort of EULA is simply wrong.
I hope he will produce another master work, but either way, I wish him a very happy life with all the money he earned.
This is the part of the post that bothers me, especially in the context of 0x10c which seemed to follow that exact track. Its his life obviously, I just wonder what awesome stuff won't be made because Minecraft made him wealthy enough that he didn't need to worry about being productive anymore.
I think it's more than you think. I think Notch expressed clearly that he did not expect nor want his project to become a big hit. He may have been flattered for a while but he now sees it clearly: success is shit, big success is a shitstorm.
The exact opposite of the entrepreneur spirit. I think pg may have overlooked this side of the hackerhood.
I guess part of the reason I feel the word "hacker" lost its meaning today is the rise of paper-toilet hackers (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8319102).
I'm not critisizing him, I'm glad he has that opportunity, and I'm glad he's recognized what opportunity he wants (which is apparently NOT the opportunity to try and make even more money).
But it's a bit more complicated than "success is shit", success is what's allowed him to ignore success from here on out, without having to worry about a roof over his head, health care, etc.
Maybe, probably, he was already able to hack things he liked without worrying too much about survival: he actually did I guess, when he started Minecraft.
The problem is that he got an offer he could not refuse (as in The Godfather)...
In the broader picture, I am struggling to understand some of the opinions of this story out there, particularly on HN. What I mean is, I suspect that a majority of us dream of this type of success. We dream of connecting our creative force with financial success, especially when that success would free us to work on practically anything that we wanted. I would say that a lot of us dream of being able to lead entirely self-directed lives that financial freedom can afford.
Therefore, why is it bemoaned when we see the very success that we dream of unfold for someone else? Why are there suddenly opinions of, "Well, I can't believe Notch would work on something that he would abandon?" Or, "Notch should spend his money this way or that way."
It just feels, well, extremely egotistical. Who is anyone to call out how someone else should spend their money, enjoy their time... live their life?
A similar situation happened with Dong Nguyen. He essentially tapped into the modern-day equivalent of Pac-Man Fever. In the 80s, it swept the world, to the tune of billions of dollars. It was the highest-grossing arcade game ever produced. People simply loved the game, and they couldn't get enough of clearing boards of dots, power-pellets and ghosts.
In a similar way, Flappy Bird took very simple game-play, and combined it with a simple challenge. This is, of course, not the first game to do this, but it took off. The power of the Internet has made Nguyen's name known, and quite sadly in some circles, despised for his financial success, when how much he was making on ad revenue was revealed. Or, with comments like those found in this piece , its intellectual lamenting with, "[...] I begrudge a society that would turn it into a phenomenon."
I suspect that the author would have said the same about Pac-Man.
I really feel for Notch, Dong Nguyen and those creatives of the world that worked to bring a dream to reality, only to have this happen to them. I'm reminded of a phrase from the song Limelight  ...
Cast in this unlikely role
Ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers
To keep oneself intact
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right; confident their ways are best. 
> I would say that a lot of us dream of being able to lead entirely self-directed lives that financial freedom can afford. Therefore, why is it bemoaned when we see the very success that we dream of unfold for someone else?
A lot of us do share that dream, but many feel most alive when they're part of a group movement. There's a little of each in everyone, but it's easy to understand how those who lean strongly to one side or the other might not be able to see through the eyes of folks across the gap. I think that, for the most part, any backlash against Notch isn't fueled by jealousy from those who aspire to the position he's reached; rather, it's from a sense of betrayal and abandonment from people whose core values are loyalty and unity.
I don't. He cashed in and, well somehow wants the sympathy of free & open-source wish-keepers.
He's in the money; and that was his choice.
One of the thing's I admire about Notch's communication is that it always comes off as sincere and matter of fact. I think that is admirable in the face of the reality one faces in becoming internet-famous.
The internet has a big problem with mob-mentality entitlement. People jumping up to call Notch a hypocrite for going back on his word, or otherwise critiquing every little move he makes really don't have a leg to stand on. I mean sure everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the actual power that these people deserve to have over Notch is infinitesimal; it's just noise on the internet with no significance. Look at it this way, if suddenly 10 million people started scrutinizing what you were up to, I'm sure they'd have a lot of complaints, but what do you owe to them?
Included there is a dedication to (eventually) make the work open-source or public domain, and to contribute to it so long as people are paying. Those promises drove MindCraft praise, good will, and adoption. Do you think asking someone to keep these promises, the ones that drove adoption (and hence his current good fortune) is... entitlement?
Notch gave the world a fun game, you gave him a small purchase price in order to enjoy it, end of transaction. The fact that he published thoughts and future plans does indenture him as your eternal entertainment provider. He should be free to leave daily development and do with his creation as he will, including deciding to do something differently than he originally envisioned. This is his prerogative as creator. To all the people who claim their participation "made" the success of Minecraft, I say bullshit, you are playing a fucking game.
You know what's a lot worse for humanity? When Twitter decided to be a media company instead of an infrastructure company. That also pissed off a lot of people who "made" the success of the company. But you know what? Same deal. It's their prerogative. You can cry and gnash your teeth, and of course you are entitled to your opinion, but the value of all those opinions? Farts in the wind.
Notch isn't your bitch.
I personally don't care, bought Minecraft, enjoyed it and moved along as I realized the modding system would never see the light... but I definitely understand why people feel disappointed.
A blog post is -- if, as most are, it is composed of words -- verbal. Its not "oral", but those two don't mean the same thing.
"The term verbal contract is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym for oral contract. However, a verbal contract is one that is agreed to using words, either written or spoken, as opposed to an implied contract."
It's funny how GP is heavily downvoted even though he's right. Downvoters (which I assume you're one of) didn't even check their facts.
Sometimes HN sucks.
Can you find any example of usage of "verbal contract" to mean anything other than "spoken contract"?
Contrary to common wisdom, an informal exchange of promises can still be binding and legally as valid as a written contract. A spoken contract is often called an "oral contract", not a "verbal contract." A verbal contract is simply a contract that uses words. All oral contracts and written contracts are verbal contracts. Contracts that are created without the use of words are called "non-verbal, non-oral contracts" or "a contract implied by the acts of the parties."
A verbal contract is simply a contract that uses words.
How is that not an example of a use of "verbal contract" to mean a category which includes both written and oral contracts?
Since you're the one claiming "verbal" equals "oral", you're the one who's supposed to do the research. Wikipedia has a citation on that specific paragraph and there are lots of results in Google. Do your homework before your claims.
But anyways, "verbum, verbi" means "word" in Latin while "os, oris" means "mouth". That should be a clue.
This is about usage, not definition. To interrupt a hrwad with a pointless aside in a snarky manner about a common (mis)use of "verbal" deserves a downvote.
Your inability to find an example of someone using "verbal contract" to mean "written contract" has been noted. :p
Did you even search Google? Do your homework!
here's one. Oh wait, they're using verbal to talk about oral contracts.
here's another. oh wait! they're doing the same.
Here's one from a national UK newspaper. They're using verbal to mean oral.
Here's another UK newspaper: http://careers.theguardian.com/careers-blog/contracts-employ...
And again, they carefully use written to mean written and verbal to mean spoken.
The first two pages of my Google search failed to show anyone using "verbal contract" to mean "written contract" - and it's pretty obvious why. A written contract is just a contract, or if you really need to specify whether it's written or spoken you'd be obtuse to use the word "verbal" to describe a written contract.
Perhaps it's a US / UK thing?
EDIT: put more smilies in.
Sales are not dying and minimum time did not passed. It does not even look like the sales will die soon. He was thinking about releasing the game when the game is dead and abandoned by gamers. Even if you take the above as a promise, the initial condition is not met and there is no requirement on him to do anything.
As for releasing it as open source, I went to your link and it says 'Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source.' How do you know he has gone back on this promise, as I have not seen any statement to the contrary so far?
Your claims of entitlement seem to rest on unproven assumptions. Is there some evidence out there you could link to, for those of us who don't follow the company/product closely?
Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source.
Given that sales are still growing, I don't think you can even hold that against him.
He also said:
I'm going to have to include some way of winning the game
That never happened, either. Intentions change, and you don't see people judging him on that.
Your sense of entitlement is why corporations now include "forward looking statement" disclaimers.
But it's not really the point of the game is it?
The fascinating thing to me is that WoW's success was predicated on keeping people playing by paying content creators to come up with new goals for players to strive for, but minecraft demonstrates that people are more than capable of creating their own goals and successes within a sufficiently open ended game. For me, it was a lava moat. Then a pitched roof. Then a farm. Then a railway that took hours to build (and didn't go anywhere useful in retrospect). Then... etc
Notch wasn't the only owner. In fact, he owns less than 50% and they have 40+ employees.
Open sourcing it would likely screw his co-founders, employees with stock options, etc. compared to the size of this deal.
Tbh, I'd be happier if he donated 10% of his earnings from this sale to Open Source projects and feeding people. Rather than, y'know, having gone the route you suggested. He also seems like the kind of guy that would.
"Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source."
So he can release it as open source, to make good on what? Some "About" page he wrote fucking 4 years ago when Minecraft was nothing but a PC indie sleeper hit?
Especially a promise to a community that throws him under the bus whenever something happens they don't like (even if he isn't involved)?
I don't think that is reasonable.
"Once sales start dying...as some kind of open source".
I somehow suspect he might give money to something else in the end.
Piracy is not an argument in this, because pirating Minecraft for single player has always been and will always be piss easy, and multiplayer will still be impossible.
For my kids sake, I hope they take a little while before they turn Minecraft into a FPS on Xboxlive.
Its such a lame end for "the story of Mojang". Let's see how long it takes for the word "mojang" to be forgotten. Lego is still called Lego, and Pixar still hasn't yielded its name to Disney (they sortof managed to coexist) to take just two examples.
The sad thing about Mojang is people are inspired by "vision". Money ? sure, we all want to earn as much as we can... But when did money give anybody any inspiration.
If nothing else, he's got to be leaving an astonishing amount of cash behind. These agreements always come with long vesting periods ("golden handcuffs").
Also, Mojang as a whole went almost dead silent between the time the WSJ article hit and today. Even routine twitter interaction that had nothing to do with the deal was greatly curbed. Somebody was making sure nobody said a word until they were allowed to.
And I'm sure Notch has an expensive lawyer telling him what he's allowed to do and when. He could certainly afford it even before this deal, and there are signs that he's had skilled legal advice in the past (e.g. the licensing of Minecraft to Mojang rather than outright transfer).
(For the record, I think most of his opinions are great opinions.)
I'm open to the idea that people can change their minds, or that the circumstances might be different, or that he felt he couldn't do the job anymore, or didn't fit in, or whatever else. But the fact remains that this sale runs in direct opposition to basically everything he's ever said in public. Now, maybe he doesn't want to live a life where what he says "in public" has some kind of significance apart from what he just says in general. That seems to be the case - it's his prerogative and if he thinks that's what best for him I'm sure he's right. But people are still going to call him a hypocrite, and that's the price he's going to have to pay.
And that's the part that makes me a little sad. I like Minecraft, but not so much that I'm going to be heartbroken when Microsoft inevitably ruins it. But I did find myself in agreement with Notch on a lot of things, and I was glad that he was able to do what he did and be outspoken about things he thought were important, etc etc. And with this sale, we also lose that. Oh well.
Have you ever looked at a hello world opengl program in java that includes textures and bump mapping and light source stuff? Its a mess.
Also being highly productive has bugger all to do with writing "good code". Almost no code gets the job done.
I've written plenty of stuff that is "bad code" that runs faster (in a world were speed is important) and makes more money than the elegantly designed frameworks i've built.
I would go so far as to say good code is contradictory to highly productive solutions that get the job done. Indeed i know one large firm that employs and spends millions trying to find the best c++ programmers they can.
All they do is sit all day arguing about the best way to do things. Chatting to them in the pub they guess they write about 1000 lines of code a year that gets into production.
can't you have a company by hiring someone to lead instead of you, only giving him directions ? I mean couldn't mojang become some sort of game development laboratory instead ?
for example google throws money they get from advertising at other experiments, I'm really dreaming of doing that for game development.