It’s ten years old but Minecraft is still going strong under the ownership of Microsoft, with more than 112 million users per month across all platforms.
Microsoft bought the intellectual property rights in 2014 and hs been updating the block-building experience ever since, and fans have happily stayed along for the ride.
The game allows players to use one-cubic-metre sized blocks to design and build their own environments. They can then explore, mine, gather resources and adventure in their worlds and those created by other players.
Minecraft studio head, Helen Chiang, told Business Insider: “What we find is that it’s a game that players keep coming back to… Over the past five years since the acquisition, Minecraft is continuing to grow.”
The game’s simplicity has helped it endure. Because every Minecraft environment and character is crafted from blocks, the aesthetics are very simple and don’t age as badly, or as quickly, as some of their competitors.
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The original game was created by one man, not a developer team, as is typical. Markus ‘Notch’ Persson created a work-in-progress PC-only game which he sold to Microsoft for $2.5bn. It’s become a dominant force across multiple platforms and is still selling copies and attracting new users.
Minecraft’s unique appeal is that it hands players a lot of freedom. The blocks that players use to build environments can become anything. Even the clouds are square, clunky blocks in the sky. Harvesting the right materials to create the right blocks adds some small level of challenge to the building process and voila, gamification is complete.
Essentially then, Minecraft is a digital world of child’s building blocks, which also features combat and resource harvesting. It’s simple, but it’s been a huge moneyspinner for Microsoft and it doesn’t age like many of its competitors.
As Chiang told Business Insider: “[Minecraft] may not always be the one that’s in the forefront, because there are a lot of great games that continue to come out, but it’s one that they love to return to.”