Minecraft man: "Piracy is not a theft"

"There is no such thing as lost sale."

Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of all-conquering indie sensation Minecraft, believes pirating a game isn't tantamount to stealing.

"Piracy is not theft," he said at GDC this week, reported by Edge Online.

"If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world.

"There is no such thing as a lost sale. Is a bad review a lost sale? What about a missed ship date?"

Persson's advice is to "make a game last longer than a week" and to "treat game development as a service".

"You can't pirate an online account," he thrust.

But perhaps he would say that; MMOs like Minecraft naturally authenticate accounts each time someone logs in, and they evolve naturally and significantly through years of prolonged development.

If a typical console game forfeits the £40 up-front sale to piracy, there's little opportunity to recoup that, regardless of whether that pirate is now a fan of the game or not.

Nevertheless, PC and console games today offer post-launch DLC as a matter of course. And there are initiatives such as EA's Online Pass that charge money to play multiplayer unless you bought first-hand and redeemed the free in-box code.

Markus Persson and Minecraft embody the indie opportunity. He's now an unlikely, overnight millionaire, and Minecraft could be the nearest thing World of Warcraft has had to a competitor in years.

As such, Minecraft's crowning 2010 year of glory was heavily recognised at the Game Developers Conference award shows last night.

MineCraft took home three Game Developers Choice awards, including Best Debut Game, and scooped two Independent Game Festival gongs, including the coveted Seamus McNally Grand Prize.

Markus Persson, the talk of the town, was one of the guests chatting to Ellie Gibson and John Teti in Eurogamer's inaugural episode of GDC After Dusk.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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