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Persson's principal venture for founding Mojang was Minecraft which gained popularity and support since its tech demo in 2009. Since then, he has gained significant notability within the video game industry, winning multiple awards and establishing relations with the industry's figureheads. He retained his position as the lead designer of Minecraft until the game's official launch in 2011, after which he transferred creative authority to Jens Bergensten. He had continued to work on Minecraft until he left Mojang in November 2014, after its acquisition by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Microsoft eventually dissociated from Persson following controversial comments regarding topics such as race and gender on his Twitter account.
Persson's most popular creation is the survival sandbox gameMinecraft, which was first publicly available on 17 May 2009 and fully released on 18 November 2011. Persson left his job as a game developer to work on Minecraft full-time until completion. In early 2011, Mojang AB sold the one millionth copy of the game, several months later their second, and several more their third. Mojang hired several new staff members for the Minecraft team, while Persson passed the lead developer role to Jens Bergensten. He stopped working on Minecraft after a deal with Microsoft to sell Mojang for $2.5 billion. This brought his net worth to US$1.5 billion.
Persson and Jakob Porsér came up with the idea for Scrolls including elements from board games and collectible card games. Persson noted that he will not be actively involved in development of the game and that Porsér will be developing it. Persson revealed on his tumblr blog on 5 August 2011 that he was being sued by a Swedish law firm representing Bethesda Softworks over the trademarked name of Scrolls, claiming that it conflicted with their The Elder Scrolls series of games. On 17 August 2011, Persson challenged Bethesda to a Quake 3 tournament to decide the outcome of the naming dispute. On 27 September 2011, Persson confirmed that the lawsuit was going to court.ZeniMax Media, owner of Bethesda Softworks, announced the lawsuit's settlement in March 2012. The settlement allowed Mojang to continue using the Scrolls trademark.
Following the end to his involvement with Minecraft, Persson began pre-production of an alternate reality space game set in the distant future in March 2012. On April Fools' Day, Mojang launched a satirical website for Mars Effect (parody of Mass Effect), citing the lawsuit with Bethesda as an inspiration. However, the gameplay elements remained true and on 4 April, Mojang revealed 0x10c (pronounced Ten to the C) as a spacesandbox title. Persson officially halted game production in August 2013. However, C418, the composer of the game's soundtrack (as well as that of Minecraft), released an album of the work he had made for the game.
Ludum Dare entries
Persson has also participated in several Ludum Dare 48-hour game making competitions.
Breaking the Tower was a game Persson developed for the entry to the Ludum Dare No. 12 competition. The game takes place on a small island, where the player must gather resources, construct buildings, and train soldiers in order to destroy a large tower on this island. The game received brief gaming media attention.
Metagun is a 2D platformer created for Ludum Dare no. 18.
Prelude of the Chambered is a game Persson developed for the entry to the Ludum Dare No. 21 competition. Prelude of the Chambered is a short first-person dungeon crawler video game.
Minicraft is a game developed for Ludum Dare No. 22, held 16-19 December 2011. It is a small top-down game with similarities to Zelda and influenced by Minecraft. It is written in Java.
Persson has received criticism for political and social opinions he expressed on Twitter, such as referring to feminism as a "social disease" and claiming that most feminists are "overtly sexist against men." In June 2017, Persson faced criticism for referring to video game developer Zoë Quinn as a "cunt". Later in June 2017, he tweeted in support of a heterosexual pride day, calling opponents to the idea "cunts" and suggesting that they "deserve to be shot". After facing community backlash, he deleted the tweets and walked back his statements, writing in one tweet, "So yeah, it's about pride of daring to express, not about pride of being who you are. I get it now."
In November 2017, Persson was criticized for posting a tweet that read, "It's ok to be white." In follow-up tweets, he said he believed privilege is a "made up metric". In March 2019, he was criticized for endorsing the QAnon conspiracy theory and calling transgender women mentally ill. These controversies led to the creation of the "Hatsune Miku created Minecraft" internet meme, which sprung up due to a viral tweet and was created by fans of the game in order to show support for Minecraft while distancing themselves from Persson.
A March 2019 Minecraft update silently removed references to Persson from the game's menu, though his name is still in the credits. Microsoft did not specify the exact reasons, but the timing of the removal led multiple news outlets to conclude it was related to the controversial tweets. Persson was not invited to be part of the Minecraft tenth anniversary event later that year, with Microsoft saying that his views "do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang". Microsoft then dissociated from Persson due to his controversial comments on his Twitter account.