April 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM ET
Having already conquered the PC gaming market, what's next for the indie game wunderkind "Minecraft?"
Apparently, the world. At least, that's according to the readers of Time magazine (or, really, anyone on the Internet with an interest in promoting a particular candidate), who have made "Minecraft" creator and Mojang co-founder Markus "Notch" Persson the second most influential person in the world in early voting for the publication's annual "Time 100" rank.
According to the official poll — the voting for which ended Friday — Notch currently has 156,549 votes saying that he should "absolutely" be included in the Time 100 list, while 18,647 voted "no way."
Notch is second only to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, and just above Mega creator and Internet icon Kim Dotcom.
Following the magazine's tradition, readers are invited to cast their votes for the "leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world" from a list of 100 people provided by the magazine. The final ranking, however, is decided by Time's editors rather than the general public — or at least the part of it that goes online to vote on these kinds of things.
That might explain why Notch, while currently outranking global figures like Barack Obama (who is ranked 12th), Kim Jong Un (ranked 6th), and Pope Francis (22nd), probably won't succeed the 44th President of the United States as Time's person of the year.
Still, it's notable in its own right that a video game developer was included in the Time 100 list at all, given the medium's relative underrepresentation compared to other areas of art, technology, and entertainment that have dominated the list in recent years. Notch stands alongside other tech icons like Dotcom and Jack Dorsey, musicians like Psy and David Bowie, and television stars like Lena Dunham and John Hamm, showing how far video games have come in recent years to be accepted not only as a viable commercial industry but also as a legitimate field of cultural and artistic inquiry.
It is curious why Time chose Notch in particular over other industry icons like Ken Levine or Gabe Newell, who was recently honored with a prestigious fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) just last month. But if Notch's popularity in the early polls means anything to magazine's editors, the 2014 Time 100 list may include more than one game developer.
Seeing how the company hinted that it would give players horses once "Minecraft" reached 10 million PC sales, the real question "Minecraft" fans are all probably asking right now is what new toys Mojang might be bringing to the game now that Notch has made it into the Time 100.