Minecraft’s recent update has scrubbed some references to the original creator of the game in some areas.
Previously, several “splash” screens on the main menu of Minecraft made references to Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, including the text ‘Made by Notch!,’ ‘The Work of Notch!,’ as well as the date ‘110813!,’ which is when he got married.
A similar update will be pushed out to the game’s non-Bedrock console editions, such as its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 versions, overseen by 4J Studios.
It’s a common enough happening in the games industry if we’re being honest. a publisher or bigger company will snap up a small or surprisingly successful IP or developer, then mold the culture and image of that around the buyer’s ideals. That might sound insidious or unwarranted, in this case though, it feels like the right call to make. Notch has been openly sympathetic to white supremacist and fascist ideology for some time. And his platform and air of respectability give him a certain amount of influence that cannot be ignored. It’s made all the more egregious when one considers that he is also unapologetic, even for his more outlandish and bigoted statements.
Over the years, the game developer has went so far as to promote paranoid far-right conspiracy theories, and then doing the same thing again, to enabling white supremacist and anti-semitic rhetoric. And that’s just the beginning.
Given all of these outbursts and the controversy they caused, it seems only sensible that Microsoft would want to finally distance themselves from this behavior. Since the release of Minecraft in 2009, it has usually been regarded as the rare instance where an independent developer strikes it rich with a bit of luck. The game sold like gangbusters, until Notch sold developer Majong to Microsoft five years later for a whopping $2.5 billion.