Who knew Minecraft, first revealed back in May of 2009, would turn into the cultural phenomenon that it is today? I sure didn't and I'm pretty sure even the game's creators are still floored to this day that the game has become such a worldwide hit.
As Minecraft Forums points out, the game now has 28 million registered users and almost 6 million purchases copies. Minecraft Pocket Edition now has over a million sales and the Xbox 360 version of the title broke all kinds of records when it launched last week.
While we look back and celebrate the success of Minecraft, I think it's more important to see what Minecraft has done for the indie movement. Notch, the creator of Minecraft, has become a worldwide celebrity. His studio, Mojang, is well respected around the world and has the potential to become the next Valve.
Other indie efforts and their creators have been equally praised, but Notch brought that success to the player. There was no "I did this," it was a "We did this." There's a reason the community around Minecraft is so strong. Mojang treated its players with respect. When a player was offering free copies of Minecraft, Notch settled it through a Quake 3 match. Even before the match started, the player took down the site offering the free copies. That's how much respect the man has earned.
While Notch has moved onto other projects, Minecraft will still continue evolving as a game. Mojang is continuously adding improvements while the community creates mods that cover everything from textures to gameplay enhancements.
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not the biggest fan of Minecraft. It's just not for me, but I do respect it more than any other game from the past decade. It has done more for the indie movement and gaming in general than any other title. In the past three years, it proved that graphics and scripted sequences are not what's driving this industry. Giving players the freedom of choice to do what they want, when they want is what Minecraft accomplished and is driving the rest of the industry to that kind of freedom.
Minecraft Forums was kind enough to dig up the very first video of Minecraft. Back then, it was just a simple tech demo that Notch had built. It wasn't even called Minecraft, it was just simply titled, "Cave game." Here's the original text:
This is a very early test of an Infiniminer clone I'm working on. It will have more resource management and materials, if I ever get around to finishing it.
It currently runs at about 700 fps for a 256x256x64 tile map.
As you can see, the game became so much more than what Notch originally envisioned.
Here's to you, Minecraft. You may be barely old enough to walk, but you've already traveled so far. I can't wait to see how far you'll get in the next three years.