According to Minecraft creator and studio boss Markus “Notch” Persson, Mojang is both indie and not indie at the same time. That is some massive zen, right there.
“I don’t think [Mojang is] indie in the sense of how I used to work any more, because we have a payroll to worry about and we need to do stuff to ensure the company lasts. We have other stuff which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games,” Persson told PC Gamer when asked if success had changed the team.
“We make sure me and Jacob are only focusing on game development so the founders are still developing. But as a company, I don’t think we are indie in the sense that I used to mean it.”
That said, Notch has a new definition of indie:
“But in the other sense of indie – as in we make games we want to play without having any external dependencies – then yeah, we’re indie,” he agreed.
Notch commented that nowadays you can make money and maintain your hipster credit.
“I think it’s easier to be an indie game developer these days because back in the day it wasn’t called being an ‘indie developer’ but a ‘garage programmer’. You weren’t expected to charge for your game so you couldn’t do it. People never charged. It was just a hobby,” he said.
“These days it’s become hip to pay for indie games. That’s partly down to people charging for it, like with the Humble Indie Bundle, and partly because of Steam doing awesome stuff.
“There’s still no guarantee you’ll make a profit. If you’re doing it out of passion and just want to get some money back it’s definitely doable.”