As if the console version of the super-successful Minecraft needed any more publicity – having just crossed the 3 million sales mark over Xbox Live – it’s not got a little more (late night) mainstream attention courtesy of Conan O’Brien.
Minecraft was a last-minute addition to Microsoft’s E3 2011 press conference and at the time it was advertised as a Kinect-functional title. While that didn’t come to fruition for launch, a older version of Minecraft (relative to the core PC version) did launch in May with a brand new interface and Xbox Live capabilities (including splitscreen co-op). Within a week it sold over a million copies, cementing it was one of the most successful downloadable titles on Xbox Live.
The additional sales – combined with the PC version and similarly successful mobile versions brought the franchise to over 9.2 million units by May and since then, the numbers have continued to grow.
Just a few days ago, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson – who’s currently hard at work on a new space-based MMO titled 0x10c – tweeted that the Xbox 360 edition of Minecraft had reached another milestone:
“I got told Minecraft for XBLA passed three million sales today!”
Whether or not it was that sales number that grabbed the attention of producers of Conan O’Brien’s late night show, we don’t know, but he did feature the game on the program last night where in his typical comedic manner, offered a very insightful review of the game. See for yourself:
In other Minecraft news we learn from Notch over Twitter, over the weekend he shared word that he and Mojang are involved in yet another legal proceeding. This one has nothing to do with the trademark rights of “Scrolls” and ZeniMax protecting The Elder Scrolls franchise. Instead
His fourth tweet on the matter was a link to the .PDF file Notch was sent (download it here). The document mistakenly spells the game as “Mindcraft” but is referring specifically to the Android mobile version of Minecraft, claiming that it infringes on their patent, specifically this vague line: “Computer code executable on an electronic device to prevent unauthorized access to electronic data stored on the electronic device.”
Since Notch is very open about sharing legal matters via Twitter for his hundreds of thousands of followers, he opened the doors to have them troll Uniloc, and troll they did. A few supporters of Notch, Mojang and Minecraft went straight for the path of stupid, wrongly firing emails described as “disgusting” at Uniloc founder Ric Richardson, a man who has nothing to do with this matter – It’s not even his patent in question.
“I feel compelled to say something regarding all of the strong language and accusations being thrown around on Twitter, in the press and some rather disgusting emails sent to me personally because I had the audacity to put my email address on my site. [Which I am now sadly forced to remove].
“From the first day the importance of patents was explained to me I have tried to act responsibly with the trust given to me by the many people who gave their time, effort and investment to help insure the technologies ultimate success.
“The people complaining about the law suits here are complaining that a company is trying to protect its own right to make a living from a technology that the patent office has verified as unique and novel. If you disagree then track the patent office and voice your problems with the patents as they are published.”
It’s sad that Richardson was subject to trolls and that he was vilified thanks to unnecessary tweets. The same thing happened with the ZeniMax mess over the trademark of “Scrolls” where nearly everyone jumped to the defense of Mojang without even realizing what they were attempting to do with the “Scrolls” trademark and its implications on any future use of that word. How did that end? They settled and agreed to give ownership of the word to ZeniMax.
A similar Twitter blow-up also happened after MineCon last year where Notch took to Twitter to lash out against the YogsCast team (YouTube celebs) – which fueled tons of baseless Twitter accusations and comments from unknowing Twitter users. Notch took it back afterward:
“It’s likely the entire Yogscast scenario is just stress related misunderstanding. I apologize for bringing it online before talking to them.”
There’s a message in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. As for the present matter, Uniloc is trying to get a court date in Texas with a jury so we’ll see how this all plays out. As much as I may agree about Notch’s thoughts on patented ideas (read them on his blog here), there’s a serious negative and unnecessary impact some of these tweets can have which is being ignored (see here). It would be stellar if we didn’t hear about the legal proceedings over Twitter until it’s settled.
I’m going to go back to building my underwater Creeper-proof castle…
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.