March 29th, 2012 | By Chris Priestman
Rich Hilleman of EA says that Minecraft could do with some help that only a publisher can give – the game’s creator, “Notch”, is happy to stay indie.
In an interview with Gamasutra, Chief Creative Director of Electronic Arts, Rich Hilleman, talked about the future of EA and how he thinks the publisher could offer a game as successful as Mojang’s Minecraft some valuable help. Hilleman thinks Minecraft is a great game and it is certainly one that is popular with his children. However, he thinks that Minecraft needs to evolve beyond what Mojang are doing with it – not just making it a great game but basically milking it as a franchise. The focus is clearly the business side of the game’s existence and how EA could somehow make more out of the game – it’s worth noting at this point that Minecraft has made $80 million so far.
“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”, Hilleman said. “And so that’s what’s most interesting to me about Minecraft, is that the ecosystem, it’s almost an American history lesson.”
Later in the same interview, Minecraft is brought up again and Hilleman, though acknowledging that Notch probably isn’t interested, revealed the plans that he had for Minecraft if EA had some control over it – perhaps even putting it on their digital distribution service, Origin. Hilleman thinks the value in Minecraft to be had is in making its mods and installations more customer friendly. He came up with that idea after having to reinstall Windows on his son’s computer after a Minecraft-modding mishap.
“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”, Hilleman claimed.
Hilleman’s ideas about evolving Minecraft into what he thought would be a better long-term business didn’t take long to reach Notch himself. The Minecraft creator, as is usually the case, responded to Hilleman via Twitter with a tweet that said:
“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”
So as you see, Notch lived up to expectation as an indie developer by being happy to subvert the practices of what a publisher would attempt to do with his creation. Of course, EA can drool and dream as much as they want about grabbing hold of Minecraft, but we’re pretty sure that any wise indie developer would look at EA’s history of veering developers towards a downhill slope and stay away. Who can forget what EA have done with Westwood, Bullfrog, Criterion Games, Mythic Entertainment and most recently BioWare?
More information on Minecraft can be found over on the game’s official website.