EA interested in Minecraft, feeling is less than mutual

April 1, 2012

In what should come as no surprise at all to anyone even remotely plugged into the gaming industry, EA has recently been expressing interest in the record-breaking instant indie classic Minecraft. Speaking to Gamasutra, Chief Creative Director Rich Hilleman outlined his visions for the future of the company, which curiously included several mentions of Minecraft as he looked to Mojang’s handling of the release and production with a large degree of respect. However, he certainly had some opinions over how their service could be improved, starting with integration into their digital distribution service Origin:

What I’ve told the guys who run Origin for us is that we should do it for free, because as you can see my vision of that business, that’s not where the money comes from anyway.

As somebody who has had to reinstall Windows on my son’s computer after he attempted to install Mod Manager on that machine, there’s a lot of value to be provided for the customer in making Minecraft and its mods and installations something that’s a more commercial and predictable product.

What seems to concern Hilleman most though is Minecraft’s general lack of a dedicated publishing company, as he continues:

And those are the kinds of things that Notch needs help with, and that without the help of a publisher or other support, he’s probably not going to get there completely by himself. Now maybe his community will, and I’d love to see that happen. It’s a great experiment; I’m really anxious to see what happens.

The reason I wish we were involved is because I think we’d learn from him. And the other thing that’s true is Notch is a true talent of this business; I just like us being associated with great talent. So from my perspective, I’m watching Minecraft with both eyes — sometimes with a third and fourth, because my wife is trying to manage my children’s behavior. But what we think is true about it is that it is a style, and not an end in itself, and that the long-term evolution of it as a business has to do with the things that go around it, and not just the client.

While his individual intentions may be good, we can’t help but recall EA’s spectacular track record for enveloping and slowly destroying independent gaming companies; something Mojang founder and Minecraft creator Notch seems aware of himself, as he posted his retort on Twitter:

I’m sure EA is very successful at monetizing games, but the more we don’t do what they would do, the happier I am. #nooffense

We wonder if this confrontation has anything to do with Mojang’s recent announcement of a brand new title in development?