Minecraft is celebrating it’s 10th birthday in 2019. We explore the origins of Minecraft to discover how a simple game that started with only 32 blocks has become the worldwide phenomenon it is today. Minecraft is now the bestselling game of all time, boasting 112 million users every month. But where did it all begin?
2009- Where it all began with a man called Notch
Back in 2009, Marcus Persson, aka Notch, a coder from Sweden, released a game originally called “Cave Game”. This game ended up being called Minecraft and was initially popular for people who liked to code as the game had no storyline or rigid structure to follow. It was down to the individual gamer to create something spectacular. This freedom was something gamers had never experienced before, and the game received positive feedback very early on. It was unique, as other games allowed you to gather resources, but no other game gave you so much control over what you created with them. Sales began on June 13th 2009 and resulted in 1,000 copies sold and 20,000 registered users in less than a month. Minecraft was truly revolutionary and the beginning of something special.
2009 also saw the beginning of survival mode-; a mode where users had to mine their resources in order to survive attacks which resulted in a game that appealed to the masses. The Nether (a hell like region of the game) and The End (a series of islands) were also added. It was on one of the islands where the boss of the game lived and once defeated the credits roll, however the players could continue developing their world.
This version of the game was also great for the gaming modding scene PC users could modify the game by themselves and customise it to their liking, creating new features, assets, textures and more. Some of these have been incorporated in the game as the developers thought them to be good.
The beta stage of the game officially began in 2010. A time that saw Notch quit his day job in order to add new features and fix bugs to the game full time. By this point, publisher Mojang was interested in the project and helped with the funding of the development. Some thought the Beta stage would never finish due to the constant updates and tweaks; however, the full version was released the following year and achieved great success.
Even though the game was in the early stages still, PC Gamer magazine, named Minecraft as its Game of the Year, indicating just what an impact it had had in the gaming community in such a short space of time.
2011- Minecraft goes Mobile
Pocket Edition was launched in 2011 which was the mobile version of Minecraft, allowing users to play the game on the go. Although the game was similar to the PC version, some amendments had to be revised in order for players to be able to use their touchscreen as a controller.
2012- Minecraft arrives on Xbox
As Minecraft became compatible with Microsoft, it made sense that the game would start to be available on Microsoft products. In 2012 Minecraft was launched on the Xbox, and the Xbox one, bringing the game to whole new range of gamers.
2013- Minecraft heads to the PlayStation
The exclusivity clause that Microsoft held ended, meaning that the game could now be developed for PlayStation. Being available on PC, Mobile, PlayStation and Xbox, meant Minecraft was officially massive.
2014- Microsoft takes control
It was in 2014 when the original creators of the game walked away and onto new projects, selling Mojang to Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion in November of that year. Now the full owners, Microsoft continued the rapid development of the game.
2015- Minecraft: Storymode
Developed and published by Telltale Games, Minecraft: Story Mode launched. This interactive comedy drama point and click graphic adventure was split across 2 seasons and several episodes. Players were able to collect items, solve problems and decide on what to do next. The decisions they made would not only affect them in the current episode but also subsequent episodes. Unfortunately, Telltale games went out of business in November 2018.
Since 2010, there has been a Minecon Live (originally known as Minecraft con Live), and it’s fifth year broke the Guinness World Record for being the largest convention for an individual game.
2016- Minecraft hits the Classroom
Minecraft Education edition arrived in 2016 and is now being used in schools around the world. This version focuses more of exploring and building rather than the combat elements and can be used to successfully teach a range of subjects from History and Geography to Science and Maths. The game teaches children a myriad of skills, especially problem solving.
2016 was also the year that total sales for Minecraft across the various platforms hit 100 million users!
2019- Celebrating 10 years and beyond
The beauty of Minecraft is that it is forever changing. It has always been a simple looking game but that is the joy of Minecraft and one of the reasons players are still wanting to play a decade later. These iconic, basic graphics mean changes can be made must faster and cheaper than a game with high-quality, modern graphics.
There have been rumours of a sequel for a really long time and you might expect a game that has reached its 10th birthday to release a follow up, however this is Minecraft, and it is not the type of game to follow the crowd. There have been several spin-offs to the game but no sequel, which makes sense when the original game is still making so much money. Minecraft Earth, announced in May 2019, is an augmented reality version of the game, bringing together the Minecraft universe and our own world for the first time. It has also been announced that Minecraft Dungeons, a new action adventure game will be launched in 2020. We know that Microsoft have stated that they have a 100-year plan for the franchise and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for this magnificent, multi award-winning game.