Minecraft sales eclipse one million

Although I’ve been making a concerted effort to keep up with the indie PC gaming scene, I have to admit that Minecraft has completely passed me by. An alpha version of the multiplayer sandbox building game was released earlier this year and has been updated continually since. Less than a month ago, those updates culminated in the first beta release.

Alpha and beta releases tend to be free, but that hasn’t been the case with Minecraft. The alpha cost €10 (about $13), and the price increased to €15 for the beta. Those actually represent discounts on the final game’s €20 price tag. Plenty of folks want to get in early, it seems, because Minecraft has already sold over a million copies. That’s a stunning total for a PC exclusive that’s not even finished. It’s even more impressive when one considers Minecraft‘s nontraditional gameplay and relatively basic graphics.

Looking at Minecraft‘s success, I can’t help but wonder if its payment model has potential for other independent developers. Asking gamers to shell out for what amounts to alpha testing doesn’t seem unreasonable if they’ll end up getting the full game at a discount. Without that initial dose of funding, Minecraft might not be the game it is today.

Comments closed
    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    Is Minecraft still written in Java?

    I haven’t played it – I can see the appeal of some of the game aspects, but it requires a lot of time. Will get it once it’s completed and available at a reduced price!

    Oh, just spent an hour or so playing the free online version building a house. WHY WHY WHY!

      • Thrashdog
      • 9 years ago

      Why indeed? You can make a passable mud hut to survive the first night in less than ten minutes, or even less if you find a passable cave to wall in.

    • yogibbear
    • 9 years ago

    Tried the demo… built a few axes… ran away from some ninja sheep. Got REALLY bored. never played it since. Maybe i just never gave it a chance? (Only played for about an hour).

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    I get that Minecraft has a charm with its visuals, that it appeals to your imagination and inner child, that its a modern version of Legos…

    but honestly I am disappointed that so many people are giving money to that game when it lacks depth. I am also a indie video game dev, and my game did not become a finalist at IGF like minecraft did. It is very disappointing to me that there is this huge movement towards simple games that you can pick up and play without knowing anything.

    I realize that “casual” gaming is a big market and will always be important, but I think there is a huge gap these days between casual games and hardcore games. Hardcore games are getting harder to find and as someone who makes/plays such games I just hope that people will actually know my game exists so that it doesn’t die before being given a chance to succeed.

    And my game is free to play, so I can hardly charge people to alpha test it : P

    We are considering doing a pledgebank or kickstarter page so that people can donate to accelerate our progress. I think that it is important for indie companies to look at new business models instead of trying to go through traditional avenues.

      • gml_josea
      • 9 years ago

      So, who are you to decide what people should spend their money on? If they like Minecraft and not your game, well…

        • ShadowTiger
        • 9 years ago

        I never said anything about people not buying my game, thats not the point

        I am just worried that as more and more simple or casual games do really well, that it will kill the market for more complex games. Since I enjoy complex games more, even though its become a niche market, this is just an observation I am making about the industry as a whole.

      • BenBasson
      • 9 years ago

      The whole basis of the game is personal creativity and sharing that with others. The depth is almost infinite, it is hardly lacking.

      • SecretMaster
      • 9 years ago

      Honestly you just sound jealous/like a sore loser.

        • ShadowTiger
        • 9 years ago

        I never really thought that I would be able to beat Minecraft, especially for the category they won (technical excellence). I think that one person working on a graphics engine like that is pretty amazing.

        I never said I was disappointed that I lost, I just said that I was also a competitor to give info that I am familiar with the various games that were competing. My main point was how it seems like the judges favor games that are easy to hop into.

        It just so happens that none of the winners this year offer what I consider “depth,” which is customization, storylines, multiple game modes (just to list a few). This could just be a personal preference.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 9 years ago

          All minecraft is, is customization.

          Storylines might offer emotional depth, but they are irrelevant to gameplay depth.

          As for multiple game modes, it really depends, you could just be making 3 shitty modes instead of one good one.

      • TaBoVilla
      • 9 years ago

      so what is your game called shadowt? what’s the game about? take advantage of the huge gaming community here at TR and expose your alpha product to us, you’ll certainly receive positive comments and constructive critique that might help you finish the project or get ideas for newer ones =)

        • ShadowTiger
        • 9 years ago

        Though you can download the game and play it right now, I thought I might as well wait a bit before announcing it to the TR forums… we have a small checklist of things to finish first. Thanks for being interested!

        Its a free to play trading card game, its RTS but slow enough that you have time to think, fast enough that you don’t get bored while playing. Basically you just drop some monsters on a grid to fight for you, and they each have unique abilities.

        Right now I am the only programmer so I have plenty of work to do!

      • Bensam123
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve seen a lot of indie developers try to make games that turn out to be real crap. Just because someone has a idea for a extremely complicated (not in depth) game, doesn’t mean everyone will love it. Games don’t need to be complicated to have depth or to be fun.

      Have you seen the videos of people making basic computers in minecraft? That just shows how robust the game itself is. When a player has the ability to freely interact with their environment and choose how they want to play without being forced into the stereotypical story-cinematic game like all the recent FPS’s it makes a truly interesting and good game. It has replayability, it has the feeling of accomplishment, and it is easier to make to boot. Force feeding your players a certain style of gameplay you think is the best and that everyone should do does not make a good game.

      Complicated and depth are two very different things and I’d argue a open world that is completely random each time you enter a new game that provides limitless possibilities has infinitely more depth then a game that merely has a well thought out combat system, but nothing else.

      In general I’ve seen coders and geeks think something is really awesome, but never pull back a bit and put it in light of everything else. It’s the way engineers generally think as well when they’re making a product.

        • ShadowTiger
        • 9 years ago

        I agree with your points

        However I think you are not understanding my point. First of all I don’t want to argue about depth vs complexity. Second of all, I am not trying to make anyone play a certain type of game. I am just pointing out a gap, a void, an empty space, between casual games and hardcore games, simple and complex (not necessarily hardcore = complex and casual = simple, mind you).

        I love that millions of people who never played video games are taking baby steps with games like farmville and angry birds. However I would like there to be more games that might serve as stepping stones between those games and something like Age of Wonders. If you just dump someone who is not familiar with the genre, with more advanced games, then they could get overwhelmed and quit. Thats why it is important to have a spectrum of games so that people can find one that suits them best. Ideally all games would be easy to pick up and learn, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore some of the rare games that have a high learning curve but are some of the best games ever made.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 9 years ago

          “Ideally all games would be easy to pick up and learn”

          Are you sure that is ideal? I’m not. Lots of authors write books that are not easy to read, there are many movies that are made that are not easy to understand, and I’m not even touching on fine art. I think it’s good there are hard to learn games in existence.

          • Bensam123
          • 9 years ago

          I think a game can be easy to learn as well as hard to master, if that’s particularly what you’re arguing. There just seems to be a black and white understanding that it either has to be simple for it to be easy to learn.

    • Scrotos
    • 9 years ago

    It’s like a giant communal playground where you can share what you create and other people can play in your sandbox, too.

    [url<]http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/the-true-story-behind-the-amazing-minecraft-enterprise-d.ars[/url<] [url<]http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/building-a-hit-one-block-at-a-time-the-creation-of-minecraft.ars[/url<] I mean, hey, a game's supposed to be fun. If you're having fun, why not play? For those who don't "get it", well, it's not for you. You're not missing out on anything, you just have different tastes. No need to worry.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    “Asking gamers to shell out for what amounts to alpha testing doesn’t seem unreasonable if they’ll end up getting the full game at a discount. ”

    Why would they bother ?

    Big name publishers are releasing “what amounts to an alpha testing” as retail products, and then bringing the game to 1.0 state with patches and DLC.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    It’s not the graphics, what I really hate in this game’s gameplay (I tried a short free demo, no save options) is the lack of interactivity. There is none, absolutely zero.

    Like the video so beautifully illustrates, if you cut down a tree, the crown stays flying. What kind of crap is that?

    Besides that, I just don’t get the “addiction” part. It’s continuously like I’m missing an “inside joke” of some sort: everyone around me tells this game is the best thing since sliced bread, and I’m left wondering why. In my opinion, that’s basically an insult to sliced bread.

      • Game_boy
      • 9 years ago

      The gameplay is the world exploration, mining (certain resources are infrequent), running from (and being scared of) the monsters at night, and creating things you can share with other people. Now, that’s not for everyone, but it reminds me the most of GTA. Many people’s playing sessions of GTA are randomly stealing cars and driving around the city, running from the police, and making their OWN gameplay (not some gameplay segment the developer has scripted a la Halo etc.).

      Now, that’s not for everyone, but the audience that enjoys sandbox games with emergent gameplay is fairly large and this is just the most minimalist and pure attempt at it. It is a timesink rather than a ‘serious’ game with linear progression, but then so are Wii Sports and Angry Birds and Tetris.

      More importantly, what can an indie dev with $10m in revenue and a great eye for design as well as financial success do? Probably make games you WILL enjoy, at some point.

      They fixed the leaf thing in the latest build.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    OK, I’ve watched a bunch of MineCraft videos and I still don’t ‘get it’. What am I missing? Is it a Lego thing? Is it just fun to build something? I always found the joy of Legos was building with them rather than playing with what I had built. So, once you’ve finished building, what do you do then? Do you invite others over to explore what you’ve built? Totally clueless why this would be as addictive as people say it is.

      • Thrashdog
      • 9 years ago

      Lego is exactly it, and there is the sharing aspect in multiplayer. Some of the updates to the game have moved towards the possibility of competitive multiplayer or RP experiences, but for now, it’s primarily the fun of building, surviving, and thriving in a (potentially) hostile world.

      The developers have plans to add a loose, overarching storyline to the game, but don’t want to damage the “Lego” aspect of the game that’s done well for them so far. Ten-million-plus euros of revenue is no small thing for an indie game.

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      “Is it just fun to build something?” -> Nail, head.

      I never played it but all I hear people saying is ‘look I built this!’

      • puppetworx
      • 9 years ago

      It is addictive, though not necessarily all that fun. After about 20 hours mining and creating new things I was bored with it and stopped playing.

      I’m not sure where that addiction factor comes from, it’s pretty bizarre.

      Try this video for an explanation – [url<]http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain.html[/url<]

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      I

      – Don’t get it either.
      – Don’t understand mentality of paying for an incomplete game.
      – Don’t understand people.
      – Don’t want useless Psychology degree.

        • travbrad
        • 9 years ago

        [quote<]Don't understand mentality of paying for an incomplete game[/quote<] I played Live For Speed for many years which is still considered "Beta" (was Alpha when I started), and paid for it too. I got literally hundreds of hours of entertainment out of it for $30. It's the best value of any game I've ever purchased. Even if it's never completed, I got an incredible deal. A lot of games being released now as "complete" seem to actually be paid Beta's as far as I can tell anyway. Otherwise they wouldn't need 5 patches to get them working correctly. I couldn't even get GTA4 to run without a patch, and then it had all sorts of show stopping bugs until the patch after that (which were improved by editing config files). LFS on the other hand, never had any show stopping bugs, even in "Alpha". So I'll take a good Beta over a polished turd like GTA4 any day.

          • indeego
          • 9 years ago

          Bought GTA4 well over a year after release and paid like $5 for it. It worked perfectly, never crashed, performed fine.

          Thanks for downvoting [i<]opinions[/i<] folks. Kinda why I left reddit's//.'s/shacknews comment systems as well.

            • travbrad
            • 9 years ago

            Yep it runs well now, which just demonstrates that it was released prematurely (in a Beta-like state).

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        “- Don’t understand mentality of paying for an incomplete game. ”

        Doesn’t is really depend on how much you pay for it? I mean if I can get 75% of a game for 1/2 the cost of a full game, I’m coming out ahead, no?

        It’s not like the game is unplayable or something. If the people paying are deriving entertainment equal to or greater than how much money it cost them, does it matter if the game is finished? I also suspect that a lot of the people who paid for it are trying to support the developer.

      • dlenmn
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, I don’t understand the appeal either. I get the appeal of building things — even things which aren’t directly useful and are just decorative, but this is too far out there. A friend showed me a giant staircase in to the sky he built. Whoop-de-fricken-do. Does this game brainwash you as you play it?

        • Firestarter
        • 9 years ago

        Grind WoW-critters -> get XP / loot / whatever
        Bash tree -> get block of wood

          • axeman
          • 9 years ago

          Hey, a lot of us don’t get that either. And I know several people that eventually “un-hooked” themselves from WoW. For many others, it is still their secret shame.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          WoW loot gives you the following: kill mob even quicker, own enemy players even more furiously, and general bragging rights when you do.

          What can you do with a block of wood? You can put it down.

          That’s the difference.

            • Thrashdog
            • 9 years ago

            Oh, but it’s even more insidous than you realize. That block of wood is just a gateway to madness (but not a Gateway to the Nether, those are obsidian!). It goes like this:

            Punch Tree -> Get Wood -> Make Planks -> Make Sticks -> Make Wood Pickaxe -> Get Stone -> Make Stone Pickaxe -> Get Coal -> Get Steel -> Make Steel Pickaxe -> Get Diamonds -> Make Diamond Pickaxe -> PWN ROCKS FURIOUSLY!

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 9 years ago

            Kill wow critters > get loot > kill more wow critters

            Don’t see a big difference.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 9 years ago

    I think it comes down to what you are paying for.

    If the alpha has half the features and stability of the final product, it’s worth half as much.

    If the beta has a little more, it’s worth a little more.

    I wish I bought a copy of the game when it was in alpha. I played on a friend’s account for a while, but I doubt that will continue.

    EDIT- First. Lol, and it’s my first first too!
    EDITx2 – Ok, it’s been like ten minutes, where are the other comments? I feel like my achievement doesn’t mean as much.

      • thesmileman
      • 9 years ago

      “If the alpha has half the features and stability of the final product, it’s worth half as much.”

      That simply isn’t true. A game that is half finished or crashes twice as often is sometimes more trouble than it is worth. I can’t tell you how many reviews for video games which say the game would be fun if they just put a little more into but in its current state it is all but worthless.

      • BenBasson
      • 9 years ago

      “Ok, it’s been like ten minutes, where are the other comments? I feel like my achievement doesn’t mean as much.”

      I’ve got news for you, it’s not easy for your “achievement” to mean any less than it already does – [i<]nothing[/i<].

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This