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How Did Minecraft Become a Multi Billion Dollar Enterprise?

Minecraft PC

Minecraft, a sandbox game, was originally created and developed by Mojang Studios based in Sweden. It’s a game that involves following simple instructions in order to play it. Users only have to log in and proceed to create a world full of only 3D cubes or Legos. You can also go about manipulating the blocks, in two game modes; Creative or Survival. Minecraft was not initially expected to be what it is today. Its Swedish creator, Markus “Notch” Alexej Persson started creating the simple but dynamic game in May of 2009, releasing its first version, going by the name, “The Cave.” However, it wasn't an instant commercial success since its fan base was initially composed of players with expert knowledge in computers and programming.

The year 2011 saw various releases of Minecraft and that's when things started to turn. To begin with, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released on Sony Xperia Play, available on Sony Xperia smartphones. The official release was in November the same year and the game went ahead to win 5 awards; Innovation Award, Best Downloadable Game, Best Debut Game, Audience Award and Seusmas McNally Grand Prize at three different conferences. The same year saw Minecraft become available on Android and iOS devices.

In 2012, Minecraft was available for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade for $20, beating its previous sales records since its creation. In 2013, Minecraft: Pi Edition, meant for educational purposes for novice programmers and players was released although it was discontinued later on. In 2014, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released for Windows Phone 8.1. In the same year, Microsoft acquired Minecraft intellectual property for $2.5 billion. In 2015, it reached 30 million copies sold.

Minecraft’s Success


Currently, tens of millions of players have successfully reconstructed Neuschwastein Castle on their way to reaching the artistry level. This has made the game an instant success in the last few years and this can be attributed to its simplicity when it comes to playing while giving players room to unlock their creativity. In addition, Minecraft is said to have sold over 70 million copies, making it the most sold PCX game in history.

With the addition of the Anvile database system back in 2012, Minecraft is now working faster, hence becoming much larger. The system comes in handy when processing and uploading vital data, making it attract more players to play in-game. In addition, there is the Minecraft community, where users can modify and share information with other players, online.

Moreover, Minecraft success can be attributed to its cross compatibility in different kinds of software. The inexpensive game can be played on PCs, Xbox and even smartphones, making its users ashore the bounty from any platform. There are instructive videos on YouTube, Facebook or Reddit, making it easy for novice players to formalize their knowledge of the game.

Minecraft can be customized on computers, making it fun to play. Over one million active users play Minecraft at any given moment. has become a popular site for the game’s users, with over 4 million posts on tools and elaborative scenarios, useful in playing the game.

In 2014, Minecraft was officially acquired for $2.5 billion.


The deal made Minecraft an official part of software giant Microsoft. Microsoft acquired the Swedish company on the growing success of the Xbox console in order to help expand its game portfolio. The founders of Minecraft left the company to concentrate on other upcoming projects such as MINECON which began 2010, also by Mojang.

Microsoft is taking steps towards targeting the younger generation thanks to the acquisition.  Also, the game is now being used as an educational tool in most school as a result of the release of Minecraft: Education Edition, on January 2016.  Kids are loving the virtual version of Legos.  However, Microsoft has since discontinued supporting the game on Windows Phone 8.1.

There have been reactions from the Minecraft community with some ruling out the prospects of further developments, citing that Microsoft could kill the game.    Microsoft has assured fans this is not going to happen.

2016 and Beyond

minecraft 2016

Minecraft has already released its Education Edition in January of 2016.  Also, Microsoft made the big announcement of a friendly update to Minecraft: Pocket Edition that is compatible with Gear VR Edition and the soon to come Windows 10 Edition. This update is meant to bring a number of exciting options when it comes to cross platform play.

Microsoft is now targeting the Chinese market through NetEase. NetEase is said to help the firm distribute PC and mobile versions tailored to meet the needs of the Chinese market. China is set to bring on more Minecraft fans considering the country has over 650 million Internet users.

In addition, Minecraft is soon adding the death match mode set to make the game even more fun. This provides its users with a small stage to kill each other which will add a whole new demographic to the game.  Dubbed Player in Battle matches, players will use randomly generated resources acquired from chests specifically located on the PVP maps and combat each other.

Project Malmo is already underway, seeking to help Microsoft to come up with artificial intelligence for its robots, thanks to Minecraft.  Project Malmo is also set to bring aboard more inexperienced coders to the programming world.

US gamers have access to Minecraft in the real world as well.  Microsoft and Mojang have come up with Mine Chest, a physical, block shaped chest available for fans. The chest contains collectibles, toys and crafting instructions to help in coming up with an in-game content. Mine Chest goes for about $38, including shipping.

As of June 2016, Minecraft came in second as the best-selling video game having sold 107 million copies, beating Grand Theft Auto V with 65 million sales.  Tetris was first, with 500 million sales.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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