The history of Minecraft

The history of Minecraft description

Selling more than 154 million copies, the title bought in 2014 by Microsoft marked the history of video games with its mechanics, visionary at the time.

Its simplistic and cubic graphics are etched in the retinas, and its construction and "crafting" system has largely inspired the video game industry since. On Friday, May 17, the game Minecraft, now available on almost every platform, celebrates its 10th anniversary. A decade that has seen a small independent game become a multi-billion dollar franchise.

     May 17, 2009: The indie game came out of nowhere




Swedish developer Markus Persson, nicknamed "Notch," releases the first version of Minecraft, a construction game inspired by a recent release: Infiniminer. It is very rudimentary in its early stages - it's basically about laying blocks on top of each other to build structures. Beyond the "Lego" aspect, it's also an open-ended, nearly infinite world, procedurally generated by the computer, with an algorithm that determines the terrain, climate, landform, and animal life of each piece of the generated world.

If he started the development of Minecraft alone, Markus Persson no longer works on the game today. Microsoft has even recently removed references to Notch from the game's home screen, as the Swede has been at the center of several controversies after making racist and transphobic comments.

     January 2010: the arrival of "crafting

This is the central mechanic of the game: in 2010, the developers introduced the possibility of using materials to "crafter", i.e. to make objects. The player has a grid on which he must put the materials in the right order to obtain an object: a stick under a piece of coal to make a torch, a stick topped with two planks of wood for a wooden sword, etc.

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For years, some crafting recipes were hard to guess and you had to go through the game's Wiki to memorize them. But now, a book of "recipes" is available directly in the game.

     July 2010: Introduction of Redstone                           

Building gigantic cathedrals and reproducing the Millau Viaduct in Minecraft was no longer enough. In July 2010, the developers introduced a mechanic that would add a great deal of complexity: Redstone. This is a powder that can be collected in the game and that can act as an electrical conductor.

Initially, it was used to connect a lever to a door, for example, to open it remotely. But it has become more complex with the updates, and can theoretically be used to reproduce a computer or calculator circuit in the game.

     November 18, 2011: the game is officially released


More than two years after the first version of the game, and while it already has more than 10 million registered users and more than a million copies sold, Minecraft is officially released. A precursor case, since today many games are now sold in early access, while the developers refine their product. Minecraft has been continuously enriched and updated since this official release.

On the same day, the first MineCon, an official Minecraft convention, is held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

     March 2012: First scientific calculator built in Minecraft

The most relentless players quickly grabbed the Redstone to create logic circuits and calculators capable of performing simple operations and displaying the result. One Internet user went further, creating a scientific calculator that could perform much more difficult operations.

     September 2014: the Microsoft buyout




The small independent game has become a behemoth: on September 15, 2014, Microsoft confirms that it will buy the studio Mojang, publisher of Minecraft, for 2.5 billion dollars (1.933 billion euros). Since its release on PC in 2009, the title has already been exported, at the time, to Android, iOS, Xbox, and Playstation. At the time, it was one of the most popular games on the planet, having spawned numerous YouTube channels dedicated to the various aspects of Minecraft.

In the summer of 2016, Microsoft announced that Minecraft had passed the milestone of 100 million copies sold, all media combined. According to Redmond, Washington-based company, console, and mobile (tablet and phone) versions account for a large majority of sales, with an average of 53,000 copies of the game sold each day during the first half of 2016.

     November 2016: 'Minecraft' goes into the education sector

Since it exploded in popularity, especially among children, Minecraft has caught the eyes of parents and is of interest to the education sector. For several years now, some schools have integrated the game into history and math classes, for example. Experiments have been conducted in British, Australian, North American schools, etc.

In 2016, Microsoft and Mojang released Minecraft: Education Edition, a version of the game specifically designed for classroom use.

     April 2017: the arrival of microtransactions

More than two years after the purchase of Minecraft, Microsoft announced the integration of microtransactions, allowing you to buy content in the game.

A few months later the "Marketplace" was introduced, to buy virtual currency and acquire maps and "skins" (character appearance) created by the community.

     Today: competition from "Fortnite”



Ten years after its creation, Minecraft remains one of the most popular games in the world. As of October 2018, according to Microsoft, 154 million copies had been sold. It is one of the biggest commercial successes in the history of video games, alongside Grand Theft Auto V, which, as of April 2018, totaled 90 million copies sold.

Associated with a very young audience, Minecraft has seen a new competitor emerge: Fortnite, the "battle royale" of Epic Games, which appeared in 2017 and continues to gain in popularity with 78 million monthly players (August 2018 figures). Minecraft is not slowing down, however: as of October 2018, the game claimed 91 million monthly logged-in users.

Epic Games' game and Microsoft's game have one thing in common: they have become spaces for socializing and creativity. Today, Minecraft remains a polymorphic game, where people come for different reasons, whether to build solo, to participate in multiplayer battles, or simply to chat with friends.

The history of Minecraft screenshots

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