Book a FREE Trial
See why Code Galaxy is the #1 online coding
school of choice for students & parents.
This sandbox game was developed in 2011 by Mojang Studios and created by Markus “Notch” Persson in the Java programming language. Though the first versions date back to 2009, the game actually saw light in 2011 and revolutionized the video gaming scene. Whether it can be called a video game per se is debatable. The main goal in Minecraft is to create, explore, and survive. It doesn’t have a single, specific goal imposed by the game itself. Instead, it offers players a vast, procedurally generated world made up of blocks that they can manipulate and interact with in various ways. The game is primarily about creativity, exploration, survival, and resource management. Today, Minecraft is the best-selling video game in history. Over 238 million copies have been sold, and there are nearly 140 million players as of 2021. Let’s go over some important facts about the origin and popularity of such a blockbuster.
Markus Alexej Persson, also known as Notch, is the Swedish video game programmer and designer behind Minecraft and the founder of the video game development company Mojang Studios. He had always been creating video games from scratch, both professionally and for pleasure. Though the official release was in 2011, the first versions of Minecraft were released in 2009, selling over 10 million copies. In 2014, Persson announced he was leaving the company as he couldn’t handle the vast number of fans worldwide and didn’t wish to be part of such big operations at Mojang Studios. Thus, he decided to sell the company to Microsoft for quite a sum.
Markus Persson started working on Minecraft as a personal project during his spare time. He was inspired by games like Dwarf Fortress and Infiniminer, which influenced the sandbox and block-building aspects of Minecraft.Notch released early versions of Minecraft, known as the Alpha and Beta stages, to the public to gather feedback and funding. Players who purchased the game during this phase were able to access the evolving game and provide input. The Minecraft community played a significant role in shaping the game’s development. Notch was active on forums and social media, listening to player suggestions and implementing many of them into the game. Actually, Minecraft underwent continuous updates and improvements during its development, and Notch and his small team at Mojang refined the game over time.
Minecraft’s first-ever edition, the Java Edition, actually came to life thanks to Notch’s weekend coding spree back in May 2009. He casually dropped it onto the TIGSource forum on May 17, a platform for independent game developers; after getting some feedback from other developers, Notch jazzed up the game, leading to what is now known as the Classic version. Over the following months, a series of updates, including the Indev and Infdev versions, preceded the game’s significant Alpha update, which debuted on June 30, 2010. This marked the juncture when Minecraft began to gain momentum.
Notch made a bold move by leaving his regular job to pour all his energy into Minecraft. Thanks to the success of the game, he, along with his pals Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, launched the now-legendary video game company, Mojang. During this time, they were constantly fine-tuning Minecraft, adding new stuff like items, blocks, mobs, resources, and, of course, the beloved Survival Mode. Then, on December 30th, Minecraft stepped into the Beta phase, getting all geared up for its full-fledged release. Mojang was on a hiring spree, bringing in new talents as the game’s popularity skyrocketed and more and more players jumped into the Minecraft adventure.
The full version of Minecraft was released on November 18, 2011, and it was a boom. At this point, to focus more on the game, Notch stepped down from his position as the Lead Designer and appointed Jens “Jeb” Bergensten, who assumed complete creative authority over the game.
The popularity and number of players were continuously growing, as were the deals and contracts with partners to keep the project on top. Over the years, new editions and updates came out like “Adventure Update”, “Pretty Scary Update” and “The Update that Changed the World”. Also, gameplay was improved, and more types of biomes, mobs, items, objectives, and mechanics were included. That is actually one of the main and most liked features of Minecrat: its constant change and evolution.
In 2017, Microsoft bought Mojang and the ownership of Mincraft’s intellectual property. However, Minecraft continued to develop and added more of literally everything, from boss fights to new areas and dimensions. The game expanded its presence to numerous different gaming systems and platforms over the years. It’s available on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo, and even has a Pocket Edition for mobile devices. Additionally, Minecraft has made its way into the realm of virtual reality. In essence, if you have any type of electronic device capable of gaming, you have the opportunity to enjoy the game.
See why Code Galaxy is the #1 online coding
school of choice for students & parents.
Minecraft is creativity at its best. It introduced the novel concept of a sandbox world where players have the freedom to shape the environment according to their imagination. This open-ended, creative gameplay marked a departure from the linear narratives prevalent in many games at the time. It inspired a generation of gamers to think beyond the confines of pre-designed levels. Also, Minecraft has transcended gaming to become a cultural phenomenon. Its blocky, pixelated aesthetic has permeated mainstream culture, influencing art, merchandise, and even educational programs. The game’s iconic Creeper has become a symbol recognized by people who have never played the game. In the world of education, the game has found its way into classrooms worldwide. Its educational version, Minecraft: Education Edition, offers educators a versatile tool to engage students in a wide range of subjects, from history to mathematics. This gamification of learning has made complex topics more accessible and enjoyable.
Minecraft was one of the pioneers of cross-platform gaming. Players on various devices, including PCs, consoles, mobile phones, and even virtual reality headsets, can join the same world. This cross-play functionality has set a standard for multiplayer gaming and strengthened the community aspect of the game. The Minecraft community is a thriving ecosystem of creators and players. The game’s modding community has produced countless user-generated content, expanding the game’s potential infinitely. Mods have introduced everything from new gameplay mechanics to entirely new game modes, enhancing Minecraft’s replayability.
The Wild Update, launched on June 7, 2022, as Java Edition 1.19 and Bedrock Edition 1.19.0, has a theme centered around “ominous elements” and natural wilderness. This update introduces new biomes like the deep dark and mangrove swamps, ancient cities, and a range of creatures, including the allay, frog, tadpole, and warden. Additionally, it introduces unique items that can only be found in these newly added biomes. In the Java Edition, the initial publicly available build featuring The Wild Update content is Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1, which became available on February 17, 2022. The first pre-release version of The Wild Update was made accessible on May 18, 2022, followed by the first release candidate on June 2, 2022. Anyway, according to players, The Wild Update didn’t reflect the name itself, so developers went beyond and came up with Trails and Tales in 2023. The theme of this update revolves around “expressing creativity and storytelling through representation,” with a strong emphasis on decorative blocks, customization choices, and tools to facilitate player-driven storytelling and role-playing within the game. It brings in trail ruins, introduces new gentle creatures like camels and sniffers, introduces an archaeology system, adds the cherry grove biome, and includes various other enhancements and elements.
The latest in Minecraft is that they are now releasing the first snapshot for Minecraft 1.20.2. In this snapshot, they’re introducing changes to Diamond Ore generation, allowing the waterlogging of Barriers, and modifying the process of Villager curing. Additionally, there’s a new Experimental Toggle that alters Villager trading, and the company expects gamers to provide feedback on this feature. Beyond addressing various bug fixes, this snapshot incorporates an array of technical enhancements and adjustments. These include the introduction of new commands, function macros, a persistent command history, network performance improvements, and more. It’s a snapshot loaded with technical features and improvements.
Minecraft’s enduring popularity is a testament to its ever-evolving nature. The game, originally launched in 2011, continues to captivate players worldwide with its sandbox creativity and limitless exploration. Minecraft has not only thrived as a game but has also become a cultural phenomenon. Its iconic blocky aesthetic has transcended gaming, influencing art, merchandise, and even educational programs. The game’s educational version, Minecraft: Education Edition, has found its way into classrooms worldwide. It serves as a dynamic learning tool, teaching a wide range of subjects in an engaging and interactive manner. At Code Galaxy, we invite our students to unleash their potential and creativity by engaging in our Minecraft courses. They will learn the basics of programming while having fun playing one of the most popular games in history. Sign up for a free trial to see it for yourself!
Related articles: Is Minecraft Good for 6-year Olds?