Did you ever play Minecraft? I did, and I like it, but not as much as the fact that it was created by one single programmer which by now made an incredible amount of money with it. On monday last week for example, the day after the servers went offline, he made $350000. In one single day!
By taking a look at the stats page, you can even see how much he earned until today. At the time of this writing, it were 266383 people who bought the game, this is about 2.5 million euro gross.
Incredible. This guy had not only a nice game idea but also a lot of luck. :)

twelve comments, already:

“This guy had not only a nice game idea but also a lot of luck. :) ”

What do you mean by that? I think he did it all by himself, not much luck involved.
Matthias - 29 09 10 - 09:04

How come this is possible? unbelievable?
Anyway he did have lot of luck as popularity swored after free giving by mojang. The game is addictive but seeing the blocky graphics not many people will try it. Offcourse once people try it they may like it. And then also there is the effect of wor of mouth, a popular thing gains larger following like rolling iceball as lots of people just do what others do, and thus after initial thrust many things become popular. For example many people bought harry potter books seeing others but never read it. So he indeed had a lot of luck and he did designed a addictive game also.
kinjalkishor - 29 09 10 - 09:17

@Matthias: Try to create a game and then sell it. You need a lot of luck to get numbers like that to get it known, just as kinjalkishor also wrote.
niko - 29 09 10 - 10:07

Yes, to get to those numbers, oh God like 2.5 million euros by a blocky low performance java game(cross platform though). It is kind of Doom or Quake like selling by a indie, and Persson is not Carmack. Doom and Quake did had massive effort and unbelievable technology. compared to it minecraft has massive proprtions of luck. I agree designing a addictive game is still a great challenge. Which is actually necessary for massive sales like Everquest or Cod MW, which even developers could not stop playing.
A good test is that majority of people trying your game during your testing play it like crazy in alpha and beta stage.
Oh and by the way minecraft is still in alpha stage. No other game has gained such popularity. In alpha stage.
Indies do come out with great innovative games and get great success. I played Lugaru some days earlier and it is really very good immersive different game. Lugaru’s success resulted in more than 100 preorders for its next game Overgrowth by wolfire even when game is in alpha stage(They give alpha to customers for trying out).
Compare this with Ddarkness Springs which donot have a great precursor, or addictive gameplay(as of now), or a massive luck. Though Darkness Springs is one of its kind first pioneer games completely playable in browser. I have high hopes with Darkness Springs, but it has long road to travel. I was really excited with DS from day niko declared it.
This kind of success needs – 1.) Great creativity and inteligence (nothing takes precedence over this)
2.) Hard work to make the vision a true success.
3.) Lot of luck to get great sales, after that “rolling stone gathers moss”.

I am myself working on my own FPS game which is “UT2004: DM,TDM,CTF + UT3: VCTF + SW Battlefront: Conquest + in big battlefield 2 like levels + all with bots for SP and MP + Single Player FPS in Oblivion like free seamless world where “wherever you go you talk and get missions and then you play like FPS games like oblivion” in settings like UT2004 with no hard boundaries on game world setting.

Now this simple :) design document seems highly addictive formula to me, but I cannot tell what others will think of it. That is where luck comes in. Remember all these games I take elements from are very popular good games. Anyway I am doing this because I like it.
I am basically a fantasy author who like game development also(and luckily I got masters in computer also which helps a lot). The 3 steps I outlined above are the same for succes in writing great succesful novels also :). There also luck comes in in lot of things.

I will be happy to know views of people reading this on this design.
kinjal kishor () - 29 09 10 - 19:16

Edit in my previous post – Lugarus’ Sequel Overgrowth got more than 1000 preorders in first few months.
kinjal kishor - 29 09 10 - 19:20

Hard to belive, Java was made to not work!!
Daniel - 30 09 10 - 01:23

i don’t think there is luck involved. he made a great game, which causes people to spread the word. he didnt have any special opportunity that others dont get. it was only his skills+the internet.
Matthias - 30 09 10 - 12:05

@ Matthias, Many people do more hard work than persson but they do not get equal success to him, and they are more skillful then him also. Also I am amazed that you do not think intelligence is important as what to make is the biggest factor. After that I think who play it matters.

He repeatedly turned down offers from Valve and Bungie, who would have got his ip, converted it into great graphics and made available on steam and given him salary. Atleast he is smart enough to not fall in that pitfall now that he has enough money to last 7 lifetimes.
I wonder what would have happened if people behind Portal would have licensed source Engine and released it under their own company. How much fortune they would have made as compared to the salary they are given by Valve.
come th think of it then Valve has done nothing but buy high potential franchises for past years. They seem exttremely lazy developers to me these days, with most effort going to get new potential ip’s and developing Steam and not games. They no more feel like a game company. L4D is also made by others and their is no sign of HL2Ep3 for past 3 years, for a episode that is very long time.
kinjal kishor - 30 09 10 - 13:53

I will also like to add that very easy to use powerful modding tools, working inside the game like, lbp, sauerbraten is very addictive as lots of people like building. This worked in minecraft. It has worked good previously in UT2004 and Halo2 also.
kinjalkishor - 30 09 10 - 15:58

And Age of Empires have lots of building and equal fighting in it and it worked there too.
kinjalkishor - 30 09 10 - 15:59

@kinjal kishor: i do think intelligence is important. kinda fits into the “his skills” department. ;)

“After that I think who play it matters.”
the kind of game you make (and its quality) determines who’s going to play it.
Matthias - 04 10 10 - 01:15

@Matthias, What you say has large amount of truth in it though luck can not be downright ignored. Well I am making a game myself and I think I will soon see the result for myself. But your words actually make me feel good and I feel like trying more better. :) I think while doing something it is better to do the work focussing on it instead of thinking about luck. What happens later will happen later.
kinjal kishor - 06 10 10 - 11:58

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