Changing the Game: How Mojang Made $240 Million in 2012 Revenue

Whereas we regularly highlight the quarterly results of large companies in the gaming industry, it is hard to ignore the revenue and profit figures for the small independent studios. Mojang AB, the creator of popular game Minecraft, has reported revenue of almost $240 million in 2012.

According to data from IT24.se, Mojang reported revenue just under $240 million, including 100 million from only license keys sold for Minecraft. The past year was obviously extremely successful for the Swedish developer Mojang. As CEO Carl Manneh announced recently that all is not yet really grasp because of the success is just gone so quickly. Mojang founder Markus “Notch” Persson said to have pocketed alone about 101 million U.S. dollars in 2012.

In addition to the release of Minecraft on Xbox Live, the game sold a bulk of its 20 million total in 2012 on Xbox Live, PC, and mobile devices (iOS, Android).

“It’s almost hard to grasp,” said Mojang CEO Carl Manneh. “It’s easy to become a bit blind working at Mojang. Everything’s happening so fast and it’s going so well. One almost needs to pinch oneself to know it’s for real. When we started Mojang in 2010 we made a budget for the first year. Three months later we just trashed it – it became totally irrelevant. We still have the same feeling now. There simply are no good ways to forecast how much money we are going to make.”

“Minecraft is a power of its own now – it’s just rolling,” Manneh said. “We have so many markets where we are not very strong yet, where many play Minecraft but few have bought it simply because you can’t use our online payment solution there. That’s something we’ll get our hands to during 2013.”

The game became major attraction of gamers worldwide as there are no instructions, no levels, no mission structure, no story, no lives, no points, and no clear goal. The gift of the game is giving people a world to play with. The core mechanic is very similar to Lego – the simplicity of placing and removing blocks and you can do whatever your imagination tells you to do. Minecraft trusts in people’s ability to find their own entertainment in a digital experience, to choose whether they’re going to build or destroy. It is a glimpse into a new world of digital entertainment

The 20 million copies of Minecraft sold in 2012 could increase even if Mojang could reach emerging markets like Brazil, the third country in the world where there are more players of Minecraft.

Despite extraordinary figures, the marketing system of the game is currently only available online and many potential players in emerging markets including Brazil and Poland do not have access to PayPal or Mojang’s payment system doesn’t work in those places.

“Minecraft is a power of its own now – it’s just rolling,” Manneh said. “We have so many markets where we are not very strong yet, where many play Minecraft but few have bought it simply because you can’t use our online payment solution there. That’s something we’ll get our hands to during 2013.”

Building a brand is about growing a large fan base, and the creator of Minecraft has been able to do that in spades. It will be interesting to see what Mojang is capable of achieving in new and unexplored markets this year.

About Saroj Kar

Saroj is a Staff Writer at SiliconANGLE covering DevOps, social, mobile and gaming news. If you have a story idea or tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.