Minecraft: An Introduction
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games on the planet. With over 140 million players from all age groups, the player base is huge. But what makes it so popular? What’s the game like at its core?
We answer all these curious questions today. We’ll go through the history of the game, how the game works, and the root of its popularity in this introduction to Minecraft.
Minecraft first started in 2009 as a project by Markus Persson, known popularly as Notch. Originally called Cave Game, it went through a development phase for 2 years, and was eventually renamed Minecraft. While initially being available from May of 2009 in various alpha and beta forms, it was first officially released in 2011 as Minecraft: Java Edition. Since then, Minecraft has grown from a small Indie game into one of the biggest and most popular titles in the gaming world. It reached 10 million users within 6 months of the official release.
While initially created, developed, and maintained by Notch; Minecraft was eventually sold by Notch to Microsoft for a cool $2.5B (yes, billion with a B) in 2014. This sale was due to Notch becoming exhausted with the pressure of being Minecraft’s creator. Since then, Microsoft has maintained and updated Minecraft throughout the years via Mojang Studio – another one of Notch’s creations that were also sold alongside Minecraft.
By this point in time, Minecraft had started to explode in popularity. With twitch streamers and YouTubers alike playing the game and producing content. This gave Minecraft more mainstream exposure to more people and thrust into the limelight. And with Microsoft at the helm offering their resources to the dev team, the game continued to improve.
2016 saw the release of Minecraft Education Edition, a version of the game aimed towards teaching students in a classroom environment. Backed by Microsoft Education, this version of Minecraft has become widely used to teach programming and coding to students of various ages. 2016 also saw record sales, with $420M in revenue coming in. One of the best years on record.
Fast forward to today and there are over 140 million active users that play Minecraft. Updates to the game include the addition of DirectX Ray-tracing (DXR) capabilities, numerous gameplay improvements and environment changes, and multiple versions across many different platforms. You can play Minecraft on the PC, iPhone, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, and even the Raspberry Pi.
So what is playing Minecraft like? Minecraft is a 3D sandbox video game that is based on building blocks. These blocks are made up of various materials, and most of them can be “mined” or broken down and stored in an inventory. An extensive crafting system allows you to turn these base materials into tools or weapons to survive in the game. This means that you can build, craft, and create things with the blocks that you mine. There are other elements as well, including animals, plants, villagers, monsters (mobs), weather, water, and lava.
The environment and map are procedurally generated. What this means is that every new map “seed” that is created is unique, and no two games of Minecraft will be the same. When starting a new game, you can choose from either creative or survival modes. Creative mode gives you unlimited materials, you take no damage, and you are free to build and experiment with the environment without the risk of dying.
In survival mode, you can choose from 4 different difficulties. These difficulty levels range from Peaceful to Hard, and these affect things how much damage you take from mobs, to whether or not dangerous mobs spawn, or whether or not you can die from hunger. Unlike creative mode, you can die from the environment in survival mode. Resources are limited, and you must mine and craft your own materials and tools from scratch. Food and shelter are your main initial priorities for survival mode.
The end goal of Minecraft is to reach The End and defeat the Ender Dragon, but you don’t necessarily have to do this. There’s no time limit or requirement to beat the game this way, and your experience playing Minecraft can be whatever you want. You can explore, build, and do whatever you want in the world as you please. Many take joy in building their own bases, exploring the world, looking for treasure, or even farming.
Different Versions of the Game
Over the years, different versions of Minecraft have been released across various platforms. The main versions of the game available include:
Minecraft: Java Edition – The original version initially released
Minecraft: Bedrock Edition – A version developed mainly for use across multiple platforms. Coded in C++ instead of Java. The PlayStation, Xbox, Android, Nintendo Switch, and Apple versions of Minecraft are Bedrock Edition, as well also being available for Windows 10 with Minecraft VR support.
Minecraft: China Version – A free, China-only version of Minecraft for Windows, Andriod, and Apple devices.
Minecraft: Education Edition – A version developed to teach students lessons in a classroom environment
Minecraft: PI Edition – A free version for the Raspberry PI
Minecraft is one of the best-selling games of all time. But what makes it so popular? There are a number of factors to consider, but the ones that stand out are:
– Fun and easy to learn mechanics
– Surprisingly immersive world
– A low skill floor but high skill ceiling
– Freedom of exploration and world-building
– Can run on virtually any device
– Outstanding community support
– Fun multiplayer servers
– Variety of custom game modes through community servers
– Massive exposure thanks to content creators
The multiplayer Minecraft experience is a driving factor of continued popularity. There are community servers that offer everything from creative building opportunities, challenging obstacle courses, PvE, and even battle-royal style PvP gameplay. You and your friends have the opportunity to explore a diverse world, go on adventures, build your bases together, tackle obstacle courses, or just duke it out. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a fun experience awaiting anyone who wants to play Minecraft.
Questions and Contact
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We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s blog post!
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