Mojang

Last updated

Mojang AB
Formerly
Mojang Specifications (2009–2010)
Subsidiary
Industry Video game industry
Founded2009;10 years ago (2009)
Founder Markus Persson
Headquarters,
Sweden
Key people
  • Jonas Mårtensson (CEO)
  • Vu Bui (COO)
  • Karin Severinson (CFO)
  • Rikard Herlitz (CTO)
Products
Number of employees
72 [1]  (2016)
Parent Xbox Game Studios (2014–present)
Website mojang.com

Mojang AB (from Swedish mojängSwedish:  [mʊˈjɛŋː] ; lit. "gadget") [2] [3] is a Swedish video game developer based in Stockholm. The company was founded as Mojang Specifications in 2009 by Markus Persson, and transformed into Mojang AB in 2010 with Jakob Porsér. Mojang is best known for creating Minecraft (released in 2011), one of the best-selling video games of all time. In November 2014, Mojang became part of Microsoft Studios (now Xbox Game Studios).

A video game developer is a software developer that specializes in video game development – the process and related disciplines of creating video games. A game developer can range from one person who undertakes all tasks to a large business with employee responsibilities split between individual disciplines, such as programming, design, art, testing, etc. Most game development companies have video game publisher financial and usually marketing support. Self-funded developers are known as independent or indie developers and usually make indie games.

Stockholm Capital city in Södermanland and Uppland, Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries; 960,031 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area, and 2.3 million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Markus Persson Swedish video game programmer

Markus Alexej Persson, better known as Notch, is a Swedish video game programmer and designer. He is best known for creating the sandbox video game Minecraft and for founding the video game company Mojang in 2010, alongside Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser.

Contents

History

Wurm Online (2003–2007)

Swedish video game designers Rolf Jansson and Markus Persson, who is otherwise known as Notch, started development on Wurm Online , a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, in 2003. [4] As the game started turning a profit in 2007, Jansson and Persson incorporated Mojang Specifications AB, however, Persson left the project that same year and wished to reuse the company's name, wherefore Jansson renamed the company Onetoofree AB, and later Code Club AB. [4] [5]

Wurm Online is a 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Code Club AB in Motala, Sweden. Development started in 2003 by friends Rolf Jansson and Markus Persson, and it was released for personal computers via Java in 2006. Players can choose to play on servers that allow player versus player combat and realm versus realm combat or servers that are focused more on a virtual economy.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.

Minecraft and formation (2009–2010)

In 2009, Persson began working on a clone of Infiniminer , a game developed by Zachtronics and released earlier that year. [6] Persson used assets and parts of the engine code he had created for an earlier project, RubyDung, and presented first prototypes of the game through videos uploaded to YouTube, starting in May that year. [6] The first alpha version of the game, now titled Minecraft , was released commercially on 13 June 2009, with Persson reusing the "Mojang Specifications" name. [6] All sales ran directly through Minecraft's website, wherefore Persson did not have to split income with third parties. [7] In less than a month, Minecraft had generated enough revenue for Persson to take time off his day job to dedicate more of his schedule to developing Minecraft, and by May 2010, he was able to quit his day job entirely. [6]

Video game clone

A video game clone is either a video game similar to, or inspired, by a previous popular game or series. Usually the term is derogatory, implying a lack of originality and creativity; however, an intentional clone may be anything from a "ripoff" to an honorary homage to its exemplar. The accusation of a game being a clone carries the implication that its developers or publishers try to profit off of the exemplar's success. It may even take the form of an allegation of plagiarism or fraud, which could be taken to court.

Zachtronics LLC is an independent video game development studio, best known for their engineering puzzle games. Zachtronics was founded by Zach Barth, who serves as its lead designer.

YouTube video-sharing service owned by Google

YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries.

In September 2010, Persson travelled to Bellevue, Washington, to the offices of video game company Valve, for "a cup of coffee". [8] At the offices, Persson took part in a programming exercise and met with Gabe Newell, before being offered a job at the company. [8] He turned down the offer, instead calling Jakob "JahKob" Porsér, whom Persson had known for five years, via Skype to ask whether he wanted to help him establish a business out of Mojang Specifications, to which Porsér replied that he would quit his job the following day. [6] [9] Subsequently, Persson and Prosér incorporated Mojang Specifications as Mojang AB. [6] As both wished to focus on game development rather than business, Mojang hired Carl Manneh, the manager of jAlbum, Persson's previous employer, as chief executive officer. [6] [9] Other significant hires included Daniel "Kappische" Kaplan as business developer, Markus "Junkboy" Toivonen as art director and Jens "Jeb" Bergensten as lead programmer. [6] [9]

Bellevue, Washington City in Washington, United States

Bellevue is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington, United States, across Lake Washington from Seattle. As the third-largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area, Bellevue has variously been characterized as an edge city, a suburb, boomburb, or satellite city. Its population was 144,444 in a 2017 census estimate.

Valve Corporation American video game development and digital distribution company

Valve Corporation is an American video game developer, publisher and digital distribution company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. It is the developer of the software distribution platform Steam and the Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Portal, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and Dota 2 games.

Gabe Newell American computer programmer and businessman

Gabe Logan Newell, commonly known by his nickname Gaben, is an American computer programmer and businessman best known as the co-founder of the video game development and digital distribution company Valve Corporation. Born in Colorado, he attended Harvard University in the early 1980s, but dropped out and soon went to work for the American technology company Microsoft, where he spent the next decade working as a producer for some of their early Windows operating systems.

Continued growth (2011–2013)

On 12 January 2011, Minecraft reached one million registered accounts, a number which rose to ten million within the next six months. [6] The continued success led Mojang to start development of a new version of Minecraft for mobile devices. [6] Due to the incompatibility with Minecraft's Java framework on mobile devices, the new version was programmed in C++ instead. [6] Another version, initially developed for Xbox 360, was outsourced to Scotland-based developer 4J Studios and also created using C++. [6] In March 2011, Mojang announced Scrolls , a digital collectible card game. [10] Mojang's attempt to trademark the game's name resulted in a lawsuit with ZeniMax Media, who owned the trademark for The Elder Scrolls series, over the two titles' similarity. [11] In August, Mojang hired artist Henrik Pettersson. [12] Minecraft was finally released out of beta in November 2011, with the announcement taking place on-stage at MineCon, the game's dedicated convention event. [6]

Java (programming language) Object-oriented programming language

Java is a general-purpose computer-programming language that is concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, and specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers "write once, run anywhere" (WORA), meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode that can run on any Java virtual machine (JVM) regardless of computer architecture. As of 2016, Java is one of the most popular programming languages in use, particularly for client-server web applications, with a reported 9 million developers. Java was originally developed by James Gosling, a Canadian, at Sun Microsystems and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its original features from SmallTalk, with a syntax similar to C and C++, but it has fewer low-level facilities than either of them.

C++ general purpose high-level programming language

C++ is a general-purpose programming language that was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup as an extension of the C language, or "C with Classes". It has imperative, object-oriented and generic programming features, while also providing facilities for low-level memory manipulation. It is almost always implemented as a compiled language, and many vendors provide C++ compilers, including the Free Software Foundation, Microsoft, Intel, and IBM, so it is available on many platforms.

The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information announced later that month at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

In 2011, Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, offered to invest in Mojang, but was turned down. [13] Mojang ruled out being sold or becoming a public company to maintain the independence, which was said to have heavily contributed to Minecraft's success. [3] [9] By March 2012, Minecraft had sold five million copies, amounting to US$80 million in revenue. [13] In November, the company had 25 employees. [9] In total, Mojang earned $237.7 million in revenue in 2012. [14] In 2013, Mojang released an education-focused version of Minecraft for Raspberry Pi devices, and, after the exclusivity clause penned with Microsoft over the availability of the game's console edition on Microsoft's platforms expired, announced editions of the game for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. [6] In October 2013, Jonas Mårtensson, formerly of gambling game company Betsson, and also Manneh's twin brother, was hired as Mojang's vice-president. [15] For the year 2013, Mojang recorded a total revenue of $330 million, including $129 million profit. [7]

Sean Parker American internet technology entrepreneur

Sean Parker is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, most notable for co-founding the file-sharing computer service Napster, and serving as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. He also co-founded Plaxo, Causes, Airtime.com, and Brigade, an online platform for civic engagement. He is the founder and chairman of the Parker Foundation, which focuses on life sciences, global public health, and civic engagement. On the Forbes 2016 list of the world's billionaires, he was ranked #722 with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.

Napster is the name given to three music-focused online services. It was founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet service that emphasized sharing digital audio files, typically audio songs, encoded in MP3 format. The company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement. It ceased operations and was eventually acquired by Roxio. In its second incarnation, Napster became an online music store until it was acquired by Rhapsody from Best Buy on December 1, 2011.

Facebook Global online social networking service

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company. It is based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Sale to Microsoft (2014–present)

By 2014, Persson wished to no longer have to bear the pressure of being the owner of Minecraft; in a tweet published in June, he asked whether anyone would be willing to buy his share in Mojang to "move on with my life". [6] Several parties expressed interest in buying the company, including Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts, but Mojang chose Microsoft as a result of the two companies' previous partnerships. [6] Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella also stated that HoloLens was a major reason for Microsoft to acquire Mojang. [16] Microsoft announced that they were purchasing Mojang for $2.5  billion on 15 September 2014. [17] The deal closed on 15 November, with Mojang joining the Microsoft Studios label. [6] [18] Persson, Porsér and Manneh left Mojang alongside the acquisition, of which Manneh was succeeded by Mårtensson. [6] [19] Every employee who stayed at the company for six months following the sale was awarded a bonus worth roughly $300,000 after taxes. [20]

Scrolls was released out of beta on 11 December 2014. [21] Development of additional Scrolls content ceased in 2015. [22] On 22 April 2016, Mojang released Crown and Council , a game entirely developed by Pettersson, for free for Microsoft Windows. [23] An update in January 2017 introduced Linux and macOS versions of the game. [24] In February 2018, Mojang stopped support for Scrolls' online services. [22] In June 2018, the game was re-released as a free-to-play game under the name Caller's Bane, adding support for player-run servers. [25] In September 2018, Mojang announced Minecraft: Dungeons , a spin-off of Minecraft to be released for Microsoft Windows in 2019. [26]

Games developed

YearTitleGenre(s)Platform(s)Ref.
2011 Minecraft Sandbox Android, Fire OS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Raspberry Pi, tvOS, Wii U, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Xbox One [27]
2014 Caller's Bane (originally Scrolls) Digital collectible card game Android, macOS, Microsoft Windows [21] [25]
2016 Crown and Council Strategy Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows [23] [24]
2019 Minecraft: Dungeons Dungeon crawler Microsoft Windows [26]

Game jam games

YearTitleEventRef.
2012Catacomb SnatchMojam [28] [29]
2013Nuclear Pizza WarMojam 2 [30] [31]
Endless Nuclear Kittens
Battle Frogs
2014DocktorGames Against Ebola [32] [33]
Healthcore Evolved
Snake Oil Stanley

In 2012, Mojang partnered with Humble Bundle to launch Mojam, a game jam that would raise money for charity. [34] As part of Mojam, Mojang developed shoot 'em up game called Catacomb Snatch. [34] 81,575 bundles were sold, raising $458,248.99. [34] The following year, in Mojam 2, three mini-games were developed by Mojang simultaneously. [35] Mojang also signed up for Humble Bundle's Games Against Ebola game jam in 2014, again developing three games. [32]

Unreleased games

Until July 2012, Mojang was co-developing a first-person shooter video game codenamed Rex Kwon Do in collaboration with an undisclosed developer. [36] Persson stated that the project was cancelled so that Mojang could focus on the games they own themselves. [37] In March 2012, Persson revealed that he would be designing a sandbox space trading and combat simulator in the likes of Elite . [38] The game's title was revealed to be 0x10c on 3 April, and the following day, Persson detailed that the game would be set in the year 281,474,976,712,644 AD of a parallel universe. [39] [40] In August 2013, Persson announced that the game was shelved due to him no longer being interested in the project. [41]

Games published

YearTitlePlatform(s)Developer(s)Ref.
2016 Cobalt Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox OneOxeye Game Studio [42]
2017 Cobalt WASD Microsoft Windows [43]

Scrolls naming dispute

In August 2011, after Mojang had attempted to trademark "Scrolls" for their game, ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, the company behind The Elder Scrolls , sent Mojang a cease and desist letter, claiming that Mojang's Scrolls infringed on ZeniMax' "The Elder Scrolls" trademark, because of which Mojang could not use the name for their game, and that ZeniMax would sue them over its usage. [11] [44] Persson offered to give up Mojang's trademark and add a subtitle to Scrolls' name, however, as Mojang ignored the cease and desist letter for the general Scrolls name, ZeniMax filed the lawsuit the following September. [11] [45] [46] Bethesda's Pete Hines stated that Bethesda and its developers were not responsible for the lawsuit, but that the issue was exclusively centred around "lawyers who understand it". [47] [48] Mojang won an interim injunction in October, the ruling being that Scrolls and The Elder Scrolls were too easy to differentiate, though ZeniMax still had the possibility to appeal the ruling. [49] [50] In March 2012, Mojang and ZeniMax settled, with all "Scrolls" trademarks and trademark applications being transferred to ZeniMax, who would in turn licence the trademark to Mojang for use with Scrolls and add-on content, but not for sequels to the game or any other game by a similar name. [51] [52]

Uniloc USA, Inc. et al v. Mojang AB

On 20 July 2012, Uniloc, a company specialising in digital rights management, filed a lawsuit against Mojang, stating that the licence verification in Minecraft: Pocket Edition's Android version infringed on Uniloc's patents. [53] [54] The case was Uniloc USA, Inc. et al v. Mojang AB and was filed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. [55] In response to hate mail sent to Uniloc founder Ric Richardson, Richardson denied his own personal involvement, claiming to have only filed the patent and that the lawsuit against Mojang was not by his doing. [56] The patent involved in the dispute was invalidated in March 2016. [57]

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<i>Callers Bane</i> 2013 video game

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