Swedish Startup Minecraft Wins Big at Independent Games Festival Awards, dismisses fears of piracy

Frictional Games' dark survival horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent won three awards while Mojang's indie mega-hit Minecraft took the Seumas McNally Grand Prize in tonight's 13th annual Independent Games Festival Awards presentation.

Minecraft, which has sold over 1.3 million copies of its beta, also won the night's audience award, attracting a plurality of over 5,000 e-mail veified votes made on igf.com.

“I think we're finally going to finish Minecraft soon,” said developer Markus "Notch" Persson in accepting the night's top indie game award. “Everyone who's ever made a game or played a game, you are awesome.”

“I know it's my job to be impartial, but it really warms my heart to see those guys win, because they're had a really tough year,” awards host Anthony Carboni joked after Minecraft's win. “They could really use the cash.”

Minecraft was also a big winner at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, earning three categories: Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and the Innovation Award.

A quick look at the stats for the still-in-beta PC game Minecraft reveals a very healthy business indeed. At the time of writing the game has 4,880,757 registered users of which 1,469,513 (30.1%) have bought the game. In the last 24 hours alone, 36,618 people registered for Minecraft.

But while virtually all other game developers would be complaining about a near 70% of their market being eaten away by parasites who could not care less about the gaming industry or the fate of those who work so hard for their entertainment, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson sees the situation rather more optimistically.

Speaking during the closing session yesterday at the Independent Games Summit, Notch dismissed the notion that piracy is the same as stealing, or ‘looting’ as incoming MPAA chief Chris Dodd framed it this week.

“Piracy is not theft,” he said to those gathered in San Francisco. “If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world.”


“If you just make your game and keep adding to it, the people who copyright infringed would buy it the next week,” he told those in attendance.

While anti-piracy zealots would insist that Minecraft has a 70% piracy or “lost sale” rate, Notch steadfastly sees his cup as rather more full than the raw percentages of his sales data may suggest, particularly by those viewing them from the perspective of an outdated business model. Indeed, despite this ‘pro-piracy’ stance, Minecraft’s position continues to improve.

Back in September last year the game had 658,429 registered players, that’s an increase of 4,222,328 in less than 5 months.

Currently 1,469,513 (30.1%) people have handed over money – in September that was 155,521 (23.62%) so its clear things are headed in the right direction. In the 24 hour period we examined in 2010, 4,910 people had bought Minecraft. Yesterday 10,381 did so.