Often relegated to the periphery of global influence, the game industry can be viewed as black sheep of sorts. It operates a bit differently than most industries, often becomes the scapegoat when society is scared about something, and trends towards artful idealism (a foreign term for the bulk of international business.)
But it seems that times are changing and we may actually be witnessing the start of a paradigm shift, with many business and societal luminaries taking note of the importance and potential of the game space going forward.
Evidence of this sea change can be seen with the inclusion of Minecraft creators Marcus ‘Notch’ Persson and Jens Bergensten on the TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World list.
One of the few gaming titans to ever crack the prestigious list, Notch and Jens have proven that their creation is not only iconic among gamers, but is also making waves in broader society. And, needless to say, this is something that out industry desperately needs.
The individual chosen to write about Mojang’s dynamic duo was none other than SimCity creator, Will Wright. Here is what he said:
I have an 8-year-old stepson, and most of what I know about Minecraft I’ve learned through watching him become totally immersed in that world. He spends half his time playing and the other half watching video tutorials other players have made about making cool things with Minecraft. It’s a community actively learning and discovering from one another, and Minecraft is the catalyst.
In scripted games, everybody experiences the same thing — they’re all rescuing the same princess. In Minecraft you use your imagination to create whatever you want. It might be a story, it might be a machine, it might be some interesting place where you can go and play. But whatever it is, it’s a reflection of you and your intention and your creativity.
What Jens and Markus designed reminds me of another deceptively elaborate toy: Lego. Minecraft is a wonderful combination of accessibility and depth, allowing for complex output with simple input. And it is introducing a whole new generation of kids to computer programming. A lot of people are trying to figure out how to teach 7-year-olds to code, and it’s a tricky thing to do. Minecraft is one of the clear landmarks along that path.
Will Wright is on point with his analysis, although he may have UNDERSTATED the importance of Mojang and what they have brought to the table.
With our service-based society happy to put all of us “on rails” (to use a gaming term), it is these practices in creativity, innovation and discovery that will keep us dynamic. We are entering a Brave New World, but with people like Notch and Jens on that journey with us, we should all be a little more confident about what this actually means.
To see the rest of the list, head over to the TIME 100 website.