“Minecraft” has been an explosive phenomenon since early in its life: It started as a work-in-progress game, made by a single man (Markus “Notch” Persson). It had rudimentary graphics and controls. It was only available on PC. It was prone to breaking, because it was an unfinished game being made by a single person.
And yet, millions of people bought and played that early version of “Minecraft.”
When Microsoft bought the game back in 2014 for $2.5 billion, the tech world was surprised and confused by the purchase.
But clearly that early success has persisted under Microsoft’s care across the past five years.
“What we find is that it’s a game that players keep coming back to,” Helen Chiang, “Minecraft” studio head, told Business Insider in a phone interview earlier this year. “It 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.”
So, why is “Minecraft” so popular? Think of “Minecraft” as virtual LEGO.
It’s a system for fitting pieces together to create something — sometimes amazing somethings — from nothing. “Minecraft” provides endless building blocks and a blank canvas; it’s up to you to create something incredible, or silly, or referential, or whatever else using the tools it provides. The tools are blessedly user-friendly, as are the systems for employing those tools.
With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why “Minecraft” has been such a hit. That it’s graphically rudimentary and simple to play just makes it all the more accessible to a massive audience
Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Xbox 360, Raspberry Pi, Windows Phone, PlayStation 3, Fire OS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Universal Windows Platform, Wii U, Apple tvOS, Nintendo Switch, New Nintendo 3DS
Release date: November 18, 2011