The History of Minecraft
Mining, crafting, and exploring; the perfect resource management simulation. It's a classic genre, with simple yet beautiful execution that invokes nostalgia whenever its musical score is heard.
Minecraft has rocketed to the top of every gaming chart in the world, and for very good reason, with critical acclaim hailing it as the best selling PC game of all time.
But for all its ever-expanding content and unique spinoffs, Minecraft started as a humble block mining and structure building game (cave game!).
The Early Stages of Development
Marcus' Notch' Persson is the father of Minecraft. He was working at King game development in 2011 when he had a spark of creativity, beginning to develop his own games in his own time.
While at King and later at jAlbum game development, Notch learned to code in several different languages and created the early versions of Minecraft, one of which was known as "cave game".
The first concept of Minecraft was 'RubyDung,' a base-building game influenced by the building and creation game Dwarf Fortress. However, as shown in the 2Player productions documentary about the history of Minecraft, Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, RubyDug was only meant to be a 6-12 month project that blossomed into the Minecraft we know today.
Taking inspiration from the recent release of the game Infiniminer, Notch established a first-person preference and the unmistakable blocky aesthetic. In May of 2009, Notch initially developed the original edition of Minecraft (Minecraft Java Edition).
A test video of the Minecraft Java Edition was released on YouTube in the same month. Then, over a single weekend, Notch created the programming of the base
Minecraft game, releasing it to private playtesters on TigIRC on May 16th.
The very next day, Minecraft was released to the public on the TigIRC forums, and with the feedback received from this release, Notch would go on to incorporate changes into subsequent updates.
Minecraft Classic is Born
Once Minecraft classic had it's official release, developmental updates followed, with the first three being 'Survival Test,' 'Indev,' and 'Infdev.' These were released in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and finally, the first significant game update, 'Minecraft Alpha' was released on June 30th, 2010.
In the 2Player Productions documentary, Notch says of the game's release for sale to the public: "When the first million Swedish Kronor (came into) the account, it was definitely one of the bigger (like) milestones."
Dubbed 'obsessively addictive,' the game's sales skyrocketed, and Notch quit his job at jAlbum.net to focus on the further development of Minecraft into beta phase.
While he released further updates for Minecraft, which were automatically distributed to owners of the game (including new blocks, game mechanics, game modes and bug fixes), Notch founded Mojang.
Full Version Release
On December 20th, 2010, after more work by Mojang, Notch released Minecraft in its bets stage, with bug fixes and updates being released for free as the previous had been.
On the fateful day of November 18th, 2011, the full version of Minecraft was released, pulling it out of beta testing. However, there were more changes to come as Jens' Jeb' Bergensten came into Mojang to take over full creative control of Minecraft and would replace Notch as the lead designer.
Development of the game continued, with updates constantly being released. In addition, Mojang brought in more game developers of the 'Bukkit API for the development of server support. On September 15th, 2014, Notch became one of Forbes' 'World Billionaires' with one single sale.
The Sale of Mojang
Microsoft made the purchase of Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5 Billion, taking over the company and the game in its entirety. This was huge, and as the company and game had grown, Notch explains why the sale felt right in the 2Player Productions documentary: "I'd rather work on something smaller, as I made Minecraft for myself...".
Despite winning academy awards for Minecraft and attracting the attention of not only Microsoft but Activision Blizzard and EA, the sale was made, and Notch retired to create more games on a smaller, more personal scale.
The Show Goes On
Since the first adventure update release, Minecraft classic version continued
to be developed, tweaked, and updated with major and minor changes by the developers at Mojang, which were all released for free.
Between 2012 and 2013, updates to the adventure version (1.1, 1.2, etc.) were released, with the first named update after this being the 'Pretty Scary Update' added at the end of 2012, which added Halloween-themed enemies such as witches, added the Wither boss, various items and decorations.
This development timeline continued, with named updates being released from then on:
Name of Update
Year of Release
Pretty Scary Update
Redstone Update, Horse Update, The Update That Changed The World
Combat Update, Frostburn Update, Exploration Update
World of Color Update
Villager and Pillager Update, Buzzy Bees Update
The Nether Update
Caves and Cliffs Part I Update, Caves and Cliffs Part II Update
The Wild Update
The Saga Continues: Minecraft Editions
There are now several different variants of Minecraft for almost every platform imaginable. Everything from mobile to Xbox to Playstation has a Minecraft variant, and dozens of modifications and expansions to the game make the sky the limit.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition
This edition was ported to Windows after Microsoft bought Mojang, but it began its life in 2011 after its release on the Android market, then on other devices later that year.
This version was replaced with the Bedrock edition later, in 2017.
Minecraft: Bedrock Edition
Minecraft Bedrock edition is the cross-platform, alternate-console version of Minecraft: Java edition and only has a few minor differences. Developed in 2011, Minecraft Bedrock was a version coded in the C++ coding language and, as such, has a broader range of playability (and cross platform play) than Minecraft Java.
Minecraft: Story Mode
Minecraft Story Mode is a Minecraft spinoff game that ran for two seasons, released in 2015 and 2017 for series one and two, respectively. This game was a point-and-click adventure game styled as an interactive story with a linear storyline based on the Minecraft character 'Steve.'
Minecraft Earth was developed and released in 2019. It was a futuristic project released for Virtual reality (VR) capable consoles and mobiles, using augmented reality elements to allow players to construct in real-time around them, then let them explore their creations.
Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon-crawler, semi-top-down game based on Minecraft's exploration and combat elements. Developed in 2020, it uses isolated dungeons and enemies to give the game a fresh take, concentrating on fighting skeletons and zombies rather than crafting.
Minecraft: Legacy Console Editions
There were many versions of Minecraft released for individual consoles:
- Playstation 3
- Playstation Vita
- Microsoft's Xbox 360
- Wii U
All these versions were finally updated in December 2018 before being shelved as legacy console versions. All later versions of Minecraft, such as Minecraft for Nintendo Switch, Minecraft for Xbox One, or Playstation 4, are based on the Bedrock version for cross-playability.
Minecraft: Education Edition
Minecraft education edition was designed specifically for schools, with integrated chemistry resource packs, lesson plans available on the Minecraft website, and game modes released solely on this version. This edition of Minecraft was released in its entirety (including on the Chromebook) in 2020.
Modifications: The Modding Community
Minecraft continues to expand today, with the user base modifying the game code to produce entire map packs, skins and textures. Mojang also releases official texture packs and skins from time to time, expanding on the Minecraft universe more and more with each addition.