EA, not happy with having consumed Origin, Westwood, Size, Maxis, Bullfrog, Criterion Games, Mythic Entertainment, and BioWare, now wants to throw Mojang on the menu as well. I mean, wants to offer Mojang a helping hand as well.
Mojang is Markus “Notch” Persson’s indie development company, responsible for the creation of Minecraft. In an interview with Gamasutra, chief creative director of Electronic Arts, Rich Hilleman was asked for his thoughts on Notch’s move of releasing Minecraft as an alpha and taking in customer feedback.
Hilleman took a moment to give us a history lesson about how during the gold rush, the people who made money weren’t the miners – it was people live Levi Strauss and Charles Crocker, “and folks who ran banks, and people who sold jeans, and sold picks and axes.” Why? Because they just provided services and products that fed into the gold rush frenzy.
So, I guess what Hilleman is trying to say is, if Notch wants to make more money, he needs to like… make Minecraft merchandise? His exact words are:
I think ultimately in the long term that the money that will get made in Minecraft will not be about Minecraft, but will be about the services and products that get introduced into it. And so that’s what’s most interesting to me about Minecraft, is that the ecosystem, it’s almost an American history lesson.
This, I suspect, taking EA’s own history of business practice into account, means a ton of Minecraft paraphernalia, Minecraft special edition bundles, Minecraft apps, Minecraft DLC, and Minecraft bait and switch.
But other than not capitalizing properly on his game, Hilleman suggests that Notch should have had someone other than himself sell the game. Like, oh, I don’t know… a little old digital distribution client like Origin? Hilleman even says they’d carry the game for free, because according to his Wild West gold rush business model, the money doesn’t come from the game… it comes from “the things that go around it.” What else can Origin do other than sell the game? Well, it can help sort out problems with modding and installation! Hilleman notes:
…there’s a lot of value to be provided for the customer in making Minecraft and its mods and installations something that’s a more commercial and predictable product.
And those are the kinds of things that Notch needs help with, and that without the help of a publisher or other support, he’s probably not going to get there completely by himself.
It’s not just about the money, though. Hilleman says the reason he wishes EA could be involved with Notch is because, “I think we’d learn from him. And the other thing that’s true is Notch is a true talent of this business; I just like us being associated with great talent.”
Unfortunately, Notch has not been wooed. Just a few hours after the interview’s release, he tweeted: “I’m sure EA is very successful at monetizing games, but the more we don’t do what they would do, the happier I am. #nooffense” Ah, well, Notch. Someday, you’ll want your company ravaged by a megalomaniacal money-hungry machine, and then you’ll feel sorry for rejecting EA’s offers of intimacy. You’ll feel sorry.