Notch was Previously Offered a Job at Valve, He Declined

notch profile shot

We like to profile indie developers here at Niche Gamer, whether they be small or celebrities like Markus ‘Notch’ Persson. It seems like Minecraft’s success happened nearly overnight, or rather very quickly – naturally it was a lot for the indie developer to get accustomed to.

In an excerpt posted by All Things D, we get a very up close and personal look into Markus’ past, and how he came to both indie greatness and financial success.

Notch always had to deal with both his sister Anna and his father Birger’s drug addiction, both of which seemed to come to terms with their addictions when Minecraft started getting bigger. Not only did Notch have the financial means to quit his day job, he finally had the opportunity to put both of their drug addicted past behind them.

Minecraft’s success was quickly making the game and Notch himself the most talked about thing in the gaming social media. Brandon Reinhart, a programmer who worked on Team Fortress 2, wrote on the game’s own blog that the release would probably be late. He described the team’s serious Minecraft addiction, and he simply said “Yes, you should play this game,” with a link to the Minecraft website.

From there on sales nearly doubled, and it wasn’t long until Markus had to make the big decision to fully embrace game development, or to balance Minecraft’s development with his day job. The irony is that the decision was expedited quite a bit when he got a call from Valve in August of 2010, asking him to visit the main office in Washington State, for a cup of coffee.

They offered to fly him out, and Markus, who demanded first class tickets (he was given them), was shortly flown out to Valve’s headquarters for a tour. This quickly became a job interview, as their true intentions for flying him out were revealed later in his visit.

Notch was actually given a programming exercise, and was asked to describe how to program an elevator. The Valve representative listened to Notch’s response, and gave his assessment: “You are a gifted programmer, but you’re not used to working in a group. We can help you with that.” He was offered a job at Valve, an opportunity that would make a lot of game developer squeal with glee.

Notch described his choice over the matter “as one of the hardest decisions of his life,” and ultimately he declined. He said, “Somehow, I felt that Minecraft was maybe my chance to create a Valve, rather than work at Valve.”

You really should read the entire excerpt, as it is truly an inspirational story and quite worth reading. You can also buy the book this excerpt is from, Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, here.

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