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Minecraft Sells 1 Million

As noted in a tweet by Markus "Notch" Persson, indie sandbox sensation Minecraft has now sold over one million copies. The Minecraft Website confirms this, saying: "So far 3171184 people have registered and 1000552 people bought the game." Thanks nin and Saether.

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11. Re: Minecraft Sells 1 Million Jan 13, 2011, 08:41 Beamer
 
With these kinds of possible sales numbers I don't understand why the big publishers don't adopt the age old music/film industry practice of having 'sublabels' that put out stuff that is more experimental and lower budget.

Why?

Not many games have been as successful as Minecraft. If major labels start kicking out indies on $200k budgets and 3 month timeframes they'd be flooding the market with crap hoping something sticks. Someone will argue they're doing that now, but imagine how many more new releases there'd constantly be at that rate.

For another, look at your two examples
1) Film. Sublabels here tend to just be distributors. Typically the movie is already funded (or close to it) and very often already made. The sublabel simply distributes, as distribution is nearly impossible in the film industry without the backing of a major. Selling to a sublabel gets you in significantly more theaters, on pppv, on better cable channels and wider DVD distribution. Video games don't have this issue
2) Music. Recording used to be very cost prohibitive and distribution used to be difficult. Neither of those things are true anymore and the industry has collapsed, along with the relevance of sublabels.

Indie game production costs are fairly low if you're a small team. Many are doing it as a hobby. And distribution costs are low. So the benefit for a developer to sign with a major isn't there like it is in movies and was in music. And it isn't really there for majors. Their risk is higher, their reward lower. Simply hiring 5 guys to work on a team for 3 months costs let's say $50k/4 for each guy, figure another $5k apiece for benefits, cost for rented space, cost for HR, cost for payroll, cost for marketing, etc. It's just not worth it for them, similar to how you have successful upscale italian restaurants everywhere but it'd make no sense for McDonald's to get into it.

In the long run, do you really want the majors trying to get into this? With music the majors pretty much never touched anything good, anyway. With movies they do but that's because anything good has to go through them by default.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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