Constraints

A few years ago, Marcus “Notch” Persson began developing a video game as a side project. While lacking time, money, man-power, hardware, and other resources. What he had an abundance of was vision, imagination, and grit.

With over 70 million copies sold, Minecraft has become the third best-selling video game of all time. In addition, Microsoft purchased the franchise for a whopping $2.5 billion.

How did Minecraft become one of the most successful video game franchises of all time with throwback 90’s graphics?

Marcus Persson, or “Notch”, began developing the game as a side project. Some of the constraints included: scarcity of time (full-time work), money, man power, hardware, and other resources. What he had an abundance of was vision, imagination, and grit.

These constraints were opportunities. The beauty of the game is not because he wanted to be the best in the world in terms of graphics. He focused on being the best in the world by tapping into what all human beings want to experience: to create something new (communities, resources, projects, buildings).

It didn’t matter that the game had throwback 90’s graphics. Too much time is spent these days polishing edges instead of doing the work that matters. While the graphics may be described as “poor” (depending on your view), the experience is rich. The constraints of the blocky graphics have enhanced the game experience not taken away from it.

Notch used what he had available and turned Minecraft into something worth mentioning, something worth experiencing despite the restraints of the project.