Minecraft creator believes in the power of piracy

Today at GDC in San Francisco, California, Markus "Notch" Persson answered questions and shared his own insights into the massively popular world of Minecraft, which he first released to the public in 2009. Since then the game has sold more than 5 million units.

In between discussing his failed attempt to design a female character model (they kept looking "extremely sexist") and talking Minecraft then and now (blocks didn't always crack, wolves unexpectedly began eating sheep, and the upcoming Xbox 360 version will incorporate friends lists for multiplayer), he revealed a few regrets, one being not starting work on the multiplayer earlier and another being the addition of half-blocks—they doubled verticality in the game and diminished cube aesthetics.

Persson also mentioned his view on piracy. To him, anyone who pirates a game has the potential to become a paying customer, and the copying and distribution of pirated versions can lead to gains, not merely "stolen money." He claimed anti-piracy practices can do more damage and pose too high of risks.

His perspective is one that many creators have adopted recently, even going so far as to openly invite pirates to download their content for free—or to name their price. Bands have been doing it for years. Even book authors are joining in.