[Everything in this post is purely my own personal opinion, and may
not reflect the opinions of everyone working at Mojang
Large parts of the culture these days exists in a world where copies
are free. Copying a physical book costs money, but copying a digital
movie is free. In fact, simply moving a movie from one hard drive to
another actually copies the movie first, then deletes the original.
Copying games is also free. No resources are lost, nobody loses any
money, and more people are having fun.
To people who want to get paid for their digital works, myself
included, that is a bit of a problem. All of society and economics is
based on an old outdated model where giving something to someone
would rid the original owner of their copy, so everyone who wanted a
copy had to buy one from someone else who would lose theirs, and the
only source of new copies was you. There might be actual development
costs involved in making these copies. For example, for every wheel
in the market, someone had to make that wheel. With digital copies,
you only need to make the wheel once.
I won't bother analyzing why people copy games and other digital
media, as that's really a moot point. We've got an amazingly
effective way of distributing culture that is extremely beneficial
for humanity, but it clashes with our current economical models.
Piracy will win in the long run. It has to. The alternative is too
If someone pirates Minecraft instead of buying it, it means I've lost
some "potential" revenue. Not actual revenue, as I can never go into
debt by people pirating the game too much, but I might've made even
more if that person had bought the game instead. But what if that
person likes that game, talks about it to his or her friends, and
then I manage to convince three of them to buy the game? I'd make
three actual sales instead of blocking out the potentially missed
sale of the original person which never cost me any money in the
Instead of just relying on guilt tripping pirates into buying, or
wasting time and money trying to stop them, I can offer online-only
services that actually add to the game experience. Online level
saving, centralized skins, friends lists and secure name verification
for multiplayer. None of these features can be accessed by people
with pirated versions of the game, and hopefully they can be features
that turn pirates from thieves into potential customers.
Please don't interpret this text as me being fine with people
pirating Minecraft. I'd MUCH rather have people pay for it so I can
reinvest in hiring people and developing more cool games in the
future. It's also quite possible that if I get into a business deal
with a larger company, there might be a larger push towards fighting
piracy mostly because they'd require it, and I understand why they'd
But why fight the biggest revolution in information flow since the
printing press when you could easily work with it by adding services
that actually add some value beyond the free act of making a digital
In other news, I'm voting for either Piratpartiet or Miljöpartiet in
the Swedish elections on Sunday.