Yesterday I went through some web pages ranging from discussion about farmville versus minecraft to grinding & slot machine mechanics and some other posts that explained why Minecraft is so successful.
I think develop interview with Markus has some seeds closer to the truth.
Here’s some reasons that – in my opinion – didn’t make Minecraft so successful:
- Game features
- Being alpha version (see also above – it was the “telling that it’s alpha…”)
Sure. Games need features, accessible technology and good use of game mechanics, but I think those aren’t the things that really caused success (alone).
I didn’t buy Minecraft for the reason that I heard that it was good. I bought it because I was interested to know what is this indie game that had sold worth half a million euros (or whatever the number was back then). Sure, I liked to dig few days but then it became bit boring and everybody else was building space crafts and Sauron’s eyes while I had a floating wooden bridge (pretty nice though).
Here’s some reasons that – in my humble opinion – do matter:
- Stories, stories, stories: everything around Minecraft is about “telling stories”. I never heard anyone giving hype to the “features” but talking about “the stuff somebody did/recorded” or “how Markus is genius when he does this and that”
- “Paypal froze my funds” story
- The “people are buying the game so fast our servers are jammed” stories
- Proven track record of sales (even before the “Paypal froze my funds story”)
- Showing (successful) sales numbers: “Here’s how many have bought the game, and more people are buying it”
- Perception in one’s mind: “What is this game everybody is talking about? Since all those people love it, I must buy it too.”
- Telling story about “just alpha, and sells gazillions”
- Success that creates more success.
And even more important:
- Markus left his day job. He sort of “gambled with his life”. Took a risk.
- Markus worked hard and was dedicated to make things happen. He had enough experience about games (Minecraft isn’t his first game) and spirit to visualize what might happen. In his words “I always knew I could make a living from games” (Well, he couldn’t visualize the 12-15 million EUR sales)
I think it’s bit false to say why “Minecraft” is so successful. I think eventually it boils down to the person behind the game. I have no trouble believing that if Markus had chose to do different game, he’d eventually would have been successful – not sure if it’s Minecraft Great Big Success, but at least Somegame Big Success.
Minecraft is the product of hard work and dedication. Sure, you can try argue and talk about mechanics about slot machines and whatnot (that’s of course important too!), but when looking reasons for success, I believe it’s important to look also the person behind the product.