It is, simply, a phenomenon: Minecraft has now sold more than 100m copies worldwide across PC, console and mobile platforms.
The game is owned in every country and territory on the planet – even Antarctica (it’s probably David Attenborough) – and in 2016 more than 53,000 copies have been bought every day.
Creator Mojang released an infographic showcasing some statistics. In Europe, for example, the mobile version of Minecraft is most popular but only by the smallest of margins. The mobile version accounts for 36 per cent of sales whereas the console versions account for 35 per cent. The longer-serving PC version accounts for 29 per cent.
The PC drop-off is more pronounced in every other territory, all of which are led by sales of the mobile version – apart from, that is, South America, where the console version is most popular.
Minecraft was of course created by Swedish fellow Markus Persson – better known as Notch – in 2010. The $10 alpha build caught on like paraffin and sales of it led to a temporary freeze on Notch’s PayPal account, which had all of a sudden accrued $750,000. Back then his goals were modest – a small studio working on small indie games – but Minecraft’s popularity would never be.
By January 2011, Minecraft had amassed 1m sales, and by April it had earned more than £20m. By June it had 2.5m sales, August 3m, November 4m and so on and so on until in May 2012 it passed 9.2m sales and then, with console and mobile editions, the numbers snowballed.
But Notch himself backed away from leading development of Minecraft in December 2011, saying he needed a rest and that he wanted to start work on something new. He handed the reins to Jens Bergensten who still leads Minecraft development at Mojang today.
The most dramatic thing to happen in Minecraft history, however, was Microsoft buying Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5bn in autumn 2014. A couple of months later, Notch bought the then-most-expensive house in Beverly Hills for around $70m.
The space game Notch was working on, 0x10c, never materialised. Indeed in 2012 he said he’d never make a game he would release ever again. These days he remains an iconic figure of game development who is coming to turns with fame and ultra-wealth. The game he created also helped launch scores of YouTube celebrities who themselves are very wealthy and famous, too.
Minecraft, meanwhile, continues to evolve, with patch 1.10 to introduce things like Polar bears in cold biomes, among many other things.