Minecraft is a sandbox video game created and designed by Swedish game designer Markus "Notch" Persson, and later fully developed and published by Mojang. The creative and building aspects of Minecraft enable players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Multiple gameplay modes are available, including a survival mode where the player must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, a creative mode where players have unlimited resources to build with and the ability to fly, an adventure mode where players can play custom maps created by other players, and a spectator mode where players can fly around and clip through blocks, but cannot place or destroy any. The PC version of the game is noted for its modding scene, where a dedicated community creates new gameplay mechanics, items, and assets for the game.
Minecraft has received praise from critics, and won numerous awards and accolades. As of February 2017[update], over 121 million copies have been sold across all platforms, making it the second best-selling video game of all time, only behind the various releases of Tetris. In September 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang and the Minecraft intellectual property for US$2.5 billion, with the acquisition being completed two months later.
Minecraft is a three-dimensional sandbox game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a great amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. However, there is an achievement system. Gameplay by default is first person, but players have the option to play in third person mode. The core gameplay revolves around breaking and placing blocks. The game world is composed of rough 3D objects—mainly cubes—arranged in a fixed grid pattern and representing different materials, such as dirt, stone, various ores, water, lava, tree trunks, etc. While players can move freely across the world, objects can only be placed at fixed locations on the grid. Players can gather these material blocks and place them elsewhere, thus allowing for various constructions.
At the start of the game, the player is placed on the surface of a procedurally generated and virtually infinite game world. The world is divided into biomes ranging from deserts to jungles to snowfields. Players can walk across the terrain consisting of plains, mountains, forests, caves, and various water bodies. The in-game time system follows a day and night cycle, with one full cycle lasting 20 real-time minutes. Throughout the course of the game, players encounter various non-player characters known as mobs, including animals, villagers and hostile creatures. Non-hostile animals—such as cows, pigs, and chickens—can be hunted for food and crafting materials, and spawn in the daytime. By contrast, hostile mobs—such as large spiders, skeletons, and zombies—spawn during nighttime or in dark places, such as caves. Some Minecraft-unique creatures have been noted by reviewers, such as the Creeper, an exploding creature that sneaks up on the player; and the Enderman, a creature with the ability to teleport and pick up blocks.
The game world is procedurally generated as players explore it, using a map seed which is obtained from the system clock at the time of world creation unless manually specified by the player. Although there are limits on movement up and down, Minecraft allows for an infinitely large game world to be generated on the horizontal plane, only running into technical problems when extremely distant locations are reached.[nb 1] The game achieves this by splitting the game world data into smaller sections called "chunks", which are only created or loaded into memory when players are nearby.
The game's physics system has often been described by commentators as unrealistic. Most solid blocks are not affected by gravity. Liquids flow from a source block, which can be removed by placing a solid block in its place, or by scooping it into a bucket. Complex systems can be built using primitive mechanical devices, electrical circuits, and logic gates built with an in-game material known as redstone.
Minecraft features two alternate dimensions besides the main world—the Nether and the End. The Nether is a hell-like dimension accessed via player-built portals that contains many unique resources and can be used to travel great distances in the overworld. The End is a barren land in which a boss dragon called the Ender Dragon dwells. Killing the dragon cues the game's ending credits, written by Irish author Julian Gough. Players are then allowed to teleport back to their original spawn point in the overworld. There is also a second boss called "The Wither", which upon defeat drops a specific material needed to build a placeable beacon that can enhance certain abilities of all nearby players.
The game primarily consists of four game modes: survival, creative, adventure, and spectator. It also has a changeable difficulty system of four levels; the easiest difficulty (peaceful) prevents hostile creatures from spawning.
In this mode, players have to gather natural resources (such as wood and stone) found in the environment in order to craft certain blocks and items. Depending on the difficulty, monsters spawn in darker areas outside a certain radius of the character, requiring the player to build a shelter at night. The mode also features a health bar which is depleted by attacks from monsters, falls, drowning, falling into lava, suffocation, starvation, and other events. Players also have a hunger bar, which must be periodically refilled by eating food in-game, except in "Peaceful" difficulty, in which the hunger bar does not drain. If the hunger bar is depleted, automatic healing will stop and eventually health will deplete. Health replenishes when players have a nearly full hunger bar, and also regenerates regardless of fullness if players play on the "Peaceful" difficulty.
There are a wide variety of items that players can craft in Minecraft. Players can craft armour, which can help mitigate damage from attacks, while weapons such as swords can be crafted to kill enemies and other animals more easily. Players may acquire resources to craft tools, such as axes, shovels, or pickaxes, used to chop down trees, dig soil, and mine ores, respectively; tools made of iron perform their tasks more quickly than tools made of stone or wood and can be used more heavily before they break. Players may also trade goods with villager mobs through a bartering system involving trading emeralds for different goods. Villagers often trade with emeralds, wheat or other materials.
The game has an inventory system, and players can carry a limited number of items. Upon dying, items in the players' inventories are dropped, and players re-spawn at the current spawn point, which is set by default where players begin the game, but can be reset if players sleep in a bed. Dropped items can be recovered if players can reach them before they despawn. Players may acquire experience points by killing mobs and other players, mining, smelting ores, breeding animals, and cooking food. Experience can then be spent on enchanting tools, armour and weapons. Enchanted items are generally more powerful, last longer, or have other special effects.
Players may also play in hardcore mode, this being a variant of survival mode that differs primarily in the game being locked to the hardest gameplay setting as well as featuring permanent death; upon players' death, their world is deleted. When a player dies on a server set to hardcore mode, the player is banned from that server.
In creative mode, players have access to all of the resources and items in the game through the inventory menu, and can place or remove them instantly. Players, who are able to fly freely around the game world, do not take environmental or mob damage, and are not affected by hunger. The game mode helps players focus on building and creating large projects.
Adventure mode was added to Minecraft in version 1.3; it was designed specifically so that players could experience user crafted custom maps and adventures. Gameplay is similar to survival mode but introduces various player restrictions, which can be applied to the game world by the creator of the map. This is so that players can obtain the required items and experience adventures in the way that the mapmaker intended. Another addition designed for custom maps is the command block; this block allows mapmakers to expand interactions with players through certain server commands.
Spectator mode allows players to fly around through blocks and watch gameplay without interacting. In this mode, the hotbar becomes a menu that allows the player to teleport to players in the world. It is also possible to view from the point of view of another player or creature. Some things may look different from another creature's point of view.
Multiplayer on Minecraft is available through player-hosted and business-hosted servers and enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single world. Players can run their own servers or use a hosting provider. Single-player worlds have local area network support, allowing players to join worlds on locally interconnected computers without a server setup. Minecraft multiplayer servers are guided by server operators, who have access to server commands such as setting the time of day and teleporting players around. Operators can also set up restrictions concerning which usernames or IP addresses are allowed to enter the server. Multiplayer servers offer players a wide range of activities, with some servers having their own unique rules and customs. Player versus player (PvP) can also be enabled to allow fighting between players. Many servers today have custom plugins that enable the player and the server to do many different things that are not normally possible. In 2013, Mojang announced Minecraft Realms, a server hosting service intended to enable players to run server multiplayer games easily and safely without the hassle of setting up their own. Realms varies from a standard server in that only invited players can join the server, and that they do not use a server IP. Realms server owners can invite up to twenty people to play on their realm; however, the server can only have ten people online at a time, and does not support user-made plugins. As announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016, Realms will enable Minecraft to support cross-platform play between Windows 10, iOS, and Android versions starting in June 2016, with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch support to come later in 2017, and eventually support for virtual reality devices. On July 31, 2017, Microsoft released the beta version of the update allowing cross-platform play, known as Better Together.
Markus "Notch" Persson began developing the game as a project. He was inspired to create Minecraft by several other games such as Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Keeper, and later Infiniminer. At the time, he had visualised an isometric 3D building game that would be a cross between his inspirations and had made some early prototypes. Infiniminer heavily influenced the style of gameplay, including the first-person aspect of the game, the "blocky" visual style and the block-building fundamentals. However, unlike Infiniminer, Persson wanted Minecraft to have RPG elements.
Minecraft was first released to the public on 17 May 2009, as a developmental release on TIGSource forums, later becoming known as the Classic version. Further milestones dubbed as Survival Test, Indev and Infdev were released between September 2009 and February 2010, although the game saw updates in-between. The first major update, dubbed alpha version, was released on 28 June 2010. Although Persson maintained a day job with Jalbum.net at first, he later quit in order to work on Minecraft full-time as sales of the alpha version of the game expanded. Persson continued to update the game with releases distributed to users automatically. These updates included features such as new items, new blocks, new mobs, survival mode, and changes to the game's behaviour (e.g., how water flows).
To back the development of Minecraft, Persson set up a video game company, Mojang, with the money earned from the game. On 11 December 2010, Persson announced that Minecraft was entering its beta testing phase on 20 December 2010. He further stated that users who bought the game after this date would no longer be guaranteed to receive all future content free of charge as it "scared both the lawyers and the board." However, bug fixes and all updates leading up to and including the release would still be free. Over the course of the development, Mojang hired several new employees to work on the project.
Mojang moved the game out of beta and released the full version on 18 November 2011. The game has been continuously updated since the release, with changes ranging from new game content to new server hosts. On 1 December 2011, Jens "Jeb" Bergensten took full creative control over Minecraft, replacing Persson as lead developer. On 28 February 2012, Mojang announced that they had hired the developers of the popular server platform "CraftBukkit" to improve Minecraft's support of server modifications. This acquisition also included Mojang apparently taking full ownership of the CraftBukkit modification, although the validity of this claim was questioned due to its status as an open-source project with many contributors, licensed under the GNU General Public License and Lesser General Public License. On 15 September 2014, Microsoft announced a $2.5 billion deal to buy Mojang, along with the ownership of the Minecraft intellectual property. The deal was suggested by Persson when he posted a tweet asking a corporation to buy his share of the game after receiving criticism for "trying to do the right thing." It was completed on 6 November 2014, and led to Persson becoming one of Forbes' "World's Billionaires".
Minecraft's music and sound effects were produced by German sound designer Daniel "C418" Rosenfeld. The background music in Minecraft is non-lyrical ambient music. On 4 March 2011, Rosenfeld released a soundtrack, titled Minecraft – Volume Alpha; it includes most of the tracks featured in Minecraft, as well as other music not featured in the game. The video game blog Kotaku chose the music in Minecraft as one of the best video game soundtracks of 2011. On 9 November 2013, Rosenfeld released the second official soundtrack, titled Minecraft – Volume Beta, which includes the music that was added in later versions of the game. A physical release of Volume Alpha, consisting of CDs, black vinyl, and limited-edition transparent green vinyl LPs, was issued by acclaimed indie electronic label Ghostly International on 21 August 2015.
The game runs on multiple operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux. Apart from the main version, there are other versions of Minecraft available for PC, including Minecraft Classic and Minecraft 4k.
Minecraft Classic is an older version of Minecraft, available online for players. Unlike newer versions of Minecraft, the classic version is free to play, though it is no longer updated. It functions much the same as creative mode, allowing players to build and destroy any and all parts of the world either alone or in a multiplayer server. There are no computer creatures in this mode, and environmental hazards such as lava will not damage players. Some blocks function differently since their behaviour was later changed during development.
Minecraft 4k is a simplified version of Minecraft similar to the classic version that was developed for the Java 4K game programming contest "in way less than 4 kilobytes". The map itself is finite—composed of 64×64×64 blocks—and the same world is generated every time. Players are restricted to placing or destroying blocks, which consist of grass, dirt, stone, wood, leaves, and brick.
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is a version exclusive to Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. The beta for it launched on the Windows Store on 29 July 2015. This version features the ability to play with Xbox Live friends (but not with those who have the Xbox One version), and to play local multiplayer with owners of the Pocket Edition. Other features include the ability to use multiple control schemes, such as a controller (preferably an Xbox controller), keyboard, or touchscreen (for Windows Phone and Microsoft Surface), and to record and take screenshots in-game via the built-in GameDVR.
The Xbox 360 version of the game, developed by 4J Studios, was released on 9 May 2012. On 22 March 2012, it was announced that Minecraft would be the flagship game in a new Xbox Live promotion called Arcade NEXT. The game differs from the home computer versions in a number of ways, including a newly designed crafting system, the control interface, in-game tutorials, split-screen multiplayer, and the ability to play with friends via Xbox Live. The version's crafting interface does not require players to place items in the correct place in a crafting menu, however, this option was added in a later update. The interface shows the blocks required to craft the selected item, and crafts it if the players have enough blocks. The worlds in the Xbox 360 version are also not "infinite", and are essentially barricaded by invisible walls. The Xbox 360 version was originally similar in content to older PC versions, but is being gradually updated to bring it closer to the current PC version.
At Gamescom 2013, Sony announced that Minecraft would be released as a PlayStation 4 launch title, and would later be released as for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3. However, the game was later delayed and the PlayStation 4 version did not launch alongside the console. It was released on the PlayStation 3 on 17 December 2013, on the PlayStation 4 on 4 September 2014, and on the PlayStation Vita on 14 October 2014 in North America, and in Europe the next day. Like the Xbox versions, the PlayStation versions were developed by 4J Studios, and are nearly identical to the Xbox 360 version.
During their E3 2013 press conference Microsoft showed a trailer for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition. It is similar to Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition but features larger worlds, expanded multiplayer features, and other enhancements. This version released on 5 September 2014.
On 17 December 2015, Minecraft: Wii U Edition was released. The Wii U version received a physical release on 17 June 2016 in North America, in Japan on 23 June 2016, and in Europe on 30 June 2016.
On 16 August 2011, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released for the Xperia Play on the Android Market as an early alpha version. It was then released for several other compatible devices on 8 October 2011. An iOS version of Minecraft was released on 17 November 2011.
A port was made available for Windows Phones shortly after Microsoft acquired Mojang. The port concentrates on the creative building and the primitive survival aspect of the game, and does not contain all the features of the PC release. On his Twitter account, Jens Bergensten noted that the Pocket Edition of Minecraft is written in C++ and not Java, due to iOS not being able to support Java. Gradual updates are periodically released to bring the port closer to the PC version. On 10 December 2014, in observance of Mojang's acquisition by Microsoft, a port of Pocket Edition was released for Windows Phone 8.1.
On 2 April 2014, a version of Minecraft based on the Pocket Edition was released for the Amazon Fire. On 29 July 2015, a version of Minecraft based on the Pocket Edition was released for Windows 10.On 19 December 2016, the full version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows 10, along with the release of the game based on the Pocket Edition for the Apple TV.
A version of Minecraft for the Raspberry Pi was officially revealed at MineCon 2012. Mojang stated that the Pi Edition is similar to the Pocket Edition except that it is downgraded to an older version, and with the added ability of using text commands to edit the game world. Players can open the game code and use programming languages to manipulate things in the game world. The game was leaked on 20 December 2012, but was quickly pulled off. It was officially released on 11 February 2013.
A modification known as Minecraft VR was developed to provide virtual reality support to the original Java version of Minecraft oriented towards Oculus Rift hardware. A fork of Minecraft known as Vivecraft ported the mod to OpenVR, and is oriented towards supporting HTC Vive hardware.
On 15 August 2016, Microsoft launched official Oculus Rift support for the Windows 10 Edition of the game. Upon its release, the Minecraft VR mod was discontinued by its developer due to trademark complaints issued by Microsoft, and Vivecraft was endorsed due to its Rift support and being superior to the original mod.
A wide variety of user-generated content for Minecraft, such as modifications, texture packs and custom maps, are available for download from the Internet. Modifications of the Minecraft code, called "mods," add a variety of gameplay changes, ranging from new blocks, new items, new mobs to entire arrays of mechanisms to craft. The modding community is responsible for a substantial supply of mods from ones that enhance gameplay, such as minimaps, waypoints, and durability counters, to ones that add to the game elements from Pokémon, Portal, and The Hunger Games. To make mods easier to create and install, Mojang announced in November 2012 that it planned to add an official modding application programming interface (API).
Texture packs that alter the game's textures and HUD are also available, as created by the community. In July 2013, texture packs were replaced with "resource packs", which have the same role as texture packs, but allow custom audio as well. Players are also create their own maps, which often contain specific rules, challenges, puzzles and quests, and share them for others to play. In version 1.3,[when?] Mojang added "adventure mode" for custom maps and in 1.4,[when?] Mojang added command blocks, which were created specially for custom maps. In 1.9,[when?] Mojang added 2 new versions (Repeat, and Chain) of the classic command block, which were also created specifically for custom maps.
The Xbox 360 Edition supports downloadable content, which is available to purchase via the Xbox Games Store; these content packs usually contain additional character skins. It later received support for texture packs in its twelfth title update while introducing "mash-up packs", which combines texture packs with skin packs and changes to the game's sounds, music and user interface. The first mash-up pack (and by extension, the first texture pack) for the Xbox 360 Edition was released on 4 September 2013, and is themed after the Mass Effect franchise. Unlike the PC version, however, the Xbox 360 Edition does not support player-made mods or custom maps. A cross-promotional resource pack based on the Super Mario franchise by Nintendo was released for the Wii U Edition worldwide on 17 May 2016. A mash-up pack based on Fallout was announced for release on the Wii U Edition.
In June 2017, Mojang released an update known as the "Discovery Update." The update includes many features, such as a new map, a new game mode, and the "Marketplace," a catalogue of user-generated content that gives Minecraft creators "another way to make a living from the game."
On 12 January 2011, Minecraft passed 1 million purchases less than a month after entering its beta phase. At the same time, the game had no publisher backing and has never been commercially advertised except through word of mouth, and various unpaid references in popular media such as the Penny Arcade webcomic. By April 2011, Persson estimated that Minecraft had made €23 million (US$33 million) in revenue, with 800,000 sales of the alpha version of the game, and over 1 million sales of the beta version. In November 2011, prior to the game's full release, Minecraft beta surpassed 16 million registered users and 4 million purchases. By March 2012, Minecraft had become the 6th best-selling PC game of all time. As of 10 October 2014[update], the game has sold 17 million copies on PC, becoming the best-selling PC game of all time. As of 10 October 2014[update], the game has sold approximately 60 million copies across all platforms, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time. On 25 February 2014, the game reached 100 million registered users.As of February 2017[update], over 121 million copies had been sold, making it the best-selling PC game to date and the second best-selling video game of all time behind Tetris.
The Xbox 360 version of Minecraft became profitable within the first 24 hours of the game's release in 2012, when the game broke the Xbox Live sales records with 400,000 players online. Within a week of being on the Xbox Live Marketplace, Minecraft sold upwards of 1 million copies. GameSpot announced in December 2012 that Minecraft sold over 4.48 million copies since the game debuted on Xbox Live Arcade in May 2012. In 2012, Minecraft was the most purchased title on Xbox Live Arcade; it was also the fourth most played title on Xbox Live based on average unique users per day. As of 4 April 2014[update], the Xbox 360 version has sold 12 million copies. In addition, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has reached a figure of 21 million in sales. The PlayStation 3 version sold one million copies in five weeks. The release of the game's PlayStation Vita version boosted Minecraft sales by 79%, outselling both PS3 and PS4 debut releases and becoming the largest Minecraft launch on a PlayStation console. The PS Vita version sold 100,000 digital copies in Japan within the first two months of release, according to an announcement by SCE Japan Asia. By January 2015, 500,000 digital copies of Minecraft were sold in Japan across all PlayStation platforms, with a surge in primary school children purchasing the PS Vita version. Minecraft helped improve Microsoft's total first-party revenue by $63 million for the 2015 second quarter.
Minecraft has been praised for the creative freedom it grants players in-game, as well as the ease of enabling emergent gameplay. Critics have praised Minecraft's complex crafting system, commenting that it is an important aspect of the game's open-ended gameplay. Most publications were impressed by the game's "blocky" graphics, with IGN describing them as "instantly memorable". Reviewers also liked the game's adventure elements, noting that the game creates a good balance between exploring and building. The game's multiplayer feature has been generally received favourably, with IGN commenting that "adventuring is always better with friends." Jaz McDougall of PC Gamer commended Minecraft, deeming it "intuitively interesting and contagiously fun, with an unparalleled scope for creativity and memorable experiences". It has been regarded as having introduced millions of children to the digital world, insofar as its basic game mechanics are logically analogous to computer commands. 
Reviewers have criticised the game's lack of in-game tutorials and instructions, making it difficult for new players to learn how to play the game. IGN was disappointed about the troublesome steps needed to set up multiplayer servers, calling it a "hassle". Critics also noted visual glitches that occur periodically. In 2009, GameSpot maintained that the game has an "unfinished feel", adding that "some game elements seem incomplete or thrown together in haste."
A review of the alpha version, by Scott Munro of the Daily Record, called it "already something special" and urged readers to buy it. Jim Rossignol of Rock, Paper, Shotgun also recommended the alpha of the game, calling it "a kind of generative 8-bit Lego Stalker". On 17 September 2010, gaming webcomic Penny Arcade began a series of comics and news posts about the addictiveness of the game.
The Xbox 360 version was generally received positively by critics, but did not receive as much praise as the PC version. Although reviewers were disappointed by the lack of features such as mod support and content from the PC version, they acclaimed the port's addition of a tutorial and in-game tips and crafting recipes, saying that they make the game more user-friendly.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition initially received mixed reviews from critics. Although reviewers appreciated the game's intuitive controls, they were disappointed by the lack of content. The inability to collect resources and craft items, as well as the limited types of blocks and lack of hostile mobs, were especially criticised. Recently,[when?] though, it has started receiving positive reviews, due to the game's updates adding more content. In addition to the controls, reviewers have complimented the graphics, though still note the lack of content.
In July 2010, PC Gamer listed Minecraft as the fourth-best game to play at work. In December of that year, Good Game selected Minecraft as their choice for Best Downloadable Game of 2010, Gamasutra named it the eighth best game of the year as well as the eighth best indie game of the year, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun named it the "game of the year". Indie DB awarded the game the 2010 Indie of the Year award as chosen by voters, in addition to two out of five Editor's Choice awards for Most Innovative and Best Singleplayer Indie. It was also awarded Game of the Year by PC Gamer UK. The game was nominated for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Technical Excellence, and Excellence in Design awards at the March 2011 Independent Games Festival and won the Grand Prize along with community-voted Audience Award. At Game Developers Choice Awards 2011, Minecraft won awards in the categories for Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and Innovation Award, winning every award for which it was nominated. It also won GameCity's video game arts award. On 5 May 2011, Minecraft was selected as one of the 80 games that would be displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of The Art of Video Games exhibit that opened on 16 March 2012. At the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, Minecraft won the award for Best Independent Game and was nominated in the Best PC Game category. In 2012, at the British Academy Video Games Awards, Minecraft was nominated in the GAME Award of 2011 category and Notch received The Special Award. In 2012, Minecraft XBLA was awarded a Golden Joystick Award in the Best Downloadable Game category, and a TIGA Games Industry Award in the Best Arcade Game category. In 2013 it was nominated as the family game of the year at the British Academy Video Games Awards. Minecraft Console Edition won the award for TIGA Game Of The Year in 2014. In 2015, the game placed 6th on USgamer's The 15 Best Games Since 2000 list. In 2016, Minecraft placed 6th on Time's The 50 Best Video Games of All Time list.
Minecraft was nominated for the 2013 Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite App, but lost to Temple Run. It was nominated for the 2014 Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Video Game, but lost to Just Dance 2014. The game later won the award for the Most Addicting Game at the 2015 Kids' Choice Awards.
Minecraft: Story Mode, an episodic spin-off game developed by Telltale Games in collaboration with Mojang, was announced in December 2014. Consisting of five episodes plus three additional downloadable episodes, the standalone game will be narrative and player choice-driven, and it was released on Microsoft Windows, OS X, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via download on 13 October 2015. A physical disc that grants access to all episodes was released for the aforementioned four consoles on 27 October. A Wii U version was also confirmed in an August 2015 interview with The Verge. A Nintendo Switch version is set to be released sometime in 2017. The first trailer for the game was shown at MineCon on 4 July 2015, revealing some of the game's features. In Minecraft: Story Mode, players control Jesse (voiced by Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber), who sets out on a journey with his or her friends to find The Order of the Stone—four adventurers who slayed an Ender Dragon—in order to save their world. Brian Posehn, Ashley Johnson, Scott Porter, Martha Plimpton, Dave Fennoy, Corey Feldman, Billy West and Paul Reubens portray the rest of the cast.
In January 2016, Microsoft announced a new tool for education, called Minecraft: Education Edition or MinecraftEDU, planned to be released in 2016. Minecraft has already been used in classrooms around the world to teach subjects ranging from core STEM topics to arts and poetry. Minecraft: Education Edition will be designed specifically for classroom use. The Education Edition gives teachers the tools they need to use Minecraft on an everyday basis.
There are few differences between Minecraft and MinecraftEDU. The main concept is the same, an open sandbox world. The students' characters in MinecraftEDU will be able to retain characteristics. Students will also be able to download the game at home, without having to buy their own version of the game. Finally the last large difference is that students can take in-game photos. These photos will be stored in an online notebook with the students' online notes. These online notebooks will be shareable with other students.
Social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit played a significant role in popularising Minecraft. Research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication showed that one-third of Minecraft players learned about the game via Internet videos. In 2010, Minecraft-related videos began to gain affluence on YouTube, often made by commentators. The videos usually contain screen-capture footage of the game and voice-overs. Common coverage in the videos includes creations made by players, walkthroughs of various tasks, and parodies of works in popular culture. By May 2012, over 4 million Minecraft-related YouTube videos had been uploaded. Some popular commentators have received employment at Machinima, a gaming video company that owns a highly watched entertainment channel on YouTube. The Yogscast is a British organisation that regularly produces Minecraft videos; their YouTube channel has attained billions of views, and their panel at MineCon 2011 had the highest attendance. Other well known YouTube personnel include Jordan Maron, who has created many Minecraft parodies, including "Minecraft Style", a parody of the internationally successful single "Gangnam Style" by South Korean rapper PSY. Herobrine is a major community icon of Minecraft, who first appeared as a single image on 4chan's /v/ board. According to rumours, Herobrine appears in players' worlds and builds strange constructions. However, Mojang has confirmed that Herobrine has never existed in Minecraft, and there are no plans to add Herobrine.
Minecraft has been referenced by other video games, such as RuneScape, Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, Choplifter HD, Super Meat Boy, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Binding of Isaac, Team Fortress 2, and FTL: Faster Than Light. It was also referenced by electronic music artist deadmau5 in his performances. A simulation of the game was featured in Lady Gaga's "G.U.Y." music video. After the release of Minecraft, some video games were released with various similarities with Minecraft, and some were called "clones" of the game. Examples include Ace of Spades, CastleMiner, CraftWorld, FortressCraft, Terraria, and Total Miner. David Frampton, designer of The Blockheads, reported that one failure of his 2D game was the "low resolution pixel art" that too closely resembled the art in Minecraft which resulted in "some resistance" from fans.
In response to Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang and their Minecraft IP, various developers suddenly announced even further clone titles that were being developed specifically for Nintendo's consoles, as they were the only major platforms to not officially receive Minecraft at the time. These clone titles include UCraft (Nexis Games), Cube Life: Island Survival (Cypronia), Discovery (noowanda), Battleminer (Wobbly Tooth Games), Cube Creator 3D (Big John Games), and Stone Shire (Finger Gun Games). In 2014, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto stated in an interview that the Wii U GamePad was a "good fit" for the title, and that Nintendo could have popularised the game in Japan. In a July 2015 interview with Mojang COO Vu Bui, it was revealed that the company was still interested in releasing the game on more platforms, and declared that Microsoft's acquisition would not hinder that prospect. According to Bui, he has "never heard a reason why [they] haven't ended up on Wii U or 3DS. It just hasn't happened yet." In August 2015, Telltale Games confirmed that the spin-off title Minecraft: Story Mode would be coming to Wii U, making it the first game in the franchise on a Nintendo console. A Wii U version of Minecraft was released on 17 December 2015.
A homebrew adaptation of the alpha version of Minecraft for the Nintendo DS, titled DScraft, has been released; it has been noted for its similarity to the original game considering the technical limitations of the system.
In 2012, Mojang received offers from Hollywood producers who wanted to produce Minecraft-related TV shows; however, Mojang stated that they would only engage in such projects when "the right idea comes along." A documentary about the development of Mojang and Minecraft was released in December 2012. Titled Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, the film was produced by 2 Player Productions. The second episode of the seventeenth season of the animated television series South Park titled "Informative Murder Porn", features the boys distracting their parents from fighting each other with Minecraft. In the South Park episode, gruff character Corey Lanskin explained the Minecraft game by noting, "Minecraft, it don't got no winner, it don't got no objective. You're just f****in' buildin' s***!" On 27 February 2014, Notch revealed that Mojang is in talks with Warner Bros. regarding a Minecraft film to be produced by Roy Lee and Jill Messick. On 8 October 2014, Mojang COO Vu Bui stated that the movie was "in its early days of development", saying that it was a "large-budget" production, and also said that it might not be released until 2018. The film will be released on 24 May 2019, and is being co-directed by Shawn Levy and Rob McElhenney and written by Jason Fuchs.
A Lego set based on Minecraft called Lego Minecraft was released on 6 June 2012. The set, called "Micro World", centres around the game's default player character and a Creeper. Mojang submitted the concept of Minecraft merchandise to Lego in December 2011 for the Lego Cuusoo program, from which it quickly received 10,000 votes by users, prompting Lego to review the concept. Lego Cuusoo approved the concept in January 2012 and began developing sets based on Minecraft. Two more sets based on the Nether and village areas of the game were released on 1 September 2013. A fourth Micro World set, the End, was released in June 2014. Six more sets became available November 2014.
Mojang collaborates with Jinx, an online game merchandise store, to sell Minecraft merchandise, such as clothing, foam pickaxes, and toys of creatures in the game. By May 2012, over 1 million dollars were made from Minecraft merchandise sales. T-shirts and socks were the most popular products. In March 2013 Mojang signed a deal with the Egmont Group, a children's book publisher, to create Minecraft handbooks, annuals, poster books, and magazines.
MineCon is an official convention dedicated to Minecraft. The first one was held in November 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. All 4,500 tickets for MineCon 2011 were sold out by 31 October. The event included the official launch of Minecraft; keynote speeches, including one by Persson; building and costume contests; Minecraft-themed breakout classes; exhibits by leading gaming and Minecraft-related companies; commemorative merchandise; and autograph and picture times with Mojang employees and well-known contributors from the Minecraft community. After MineCon, there was an Into The Nether after-party with deadmau5. Free codes were given to every attendee of MineCon that unlocked alpha versions of Mojang's Scrolls, as well as an additional non-Mojang game, Cobalt, developed by Oxeye Game Studios. Similar events occurred in MineCon 2012, which took place in Disneyland Paris from in November. The tickets for the 2012 event sold out in less than two hours. MineCon 2013 was held in Orlando in November as well. MineCon 2015 was held in London in July. MineCon 2016 was held in Anaheim in September.
The possible applications of Minecraft have been discussed extensively, especially in the fields of computer-aided design and education. In a panel at MineCon 2011, a Swedish developer discussed the possibility of using the game to redesign public buildings and parks, stating that rendering using Minecraft was much more user-friendly for the community, making it easier to envision the functionality of new buildings and parks. In 2012, a member of the Human Dynamics group at the MIT Media Lab, Cody Sumter, said that "Notch hasn't just built a game. He's tricked 40 million people into learning to use a CAD program." Various software has been developed to allow virtual designs to be printed using professional 3D printers or personal printers such as MakerBot and RepRap.
In September 2012, Mojang began the Block By Block project in cooperation with UN Habitat to create real-world environments in Minecraft. The project allows young people who live in those environments to participate in designing the changes they would like to see. Using Minecraft, the community has helped reconstruct the areas of concern, and citizens are invited to enter the Minecraft servers and modify their own neighbourhood. Carl Manneh, Mojang's managing director, called the game "the perfect tool to facilitate this process," adding that "the three-year partnership will support UN-Habitat's Sustainable Urban Development Network to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016." Mojang signed Minecraft building community, FyreUK, to help render the environments into Minecraft. The first pilot project began in Kibera, one of Nairobi's informal settlements, and is in the planning phase. The Block By Block project is based on an earlier initiative started in October 2011, Mina Kvarter (My Block), which gave young people in Swedish communities a tool to visualise how they wanted to change their part of town. According to Manneh, the project was a helpful way to visualise urban planning ideas without necessarily having a training in architecture. The ideas presented by the citizens were a template for political decisions.
In April 2014, the Danish Geodata Agency generated all of Denmark in fullscale in Minecraft based on their own geodata. This is possible because Denmark is one of the flattest countries with the highest point at 171 meters (ranking as the country with the 30th smallest elevation span), where the limit in default Minecraft is around 192 meters above in-game sea level.
Minecraft has also been used in educational settings. In 2011, an educational organisation named MinecraftEdu was formed with the goal of introducing Minecraft into schools. The group works with Mojang to make the game affordable and accessible to schools. In September 2012, MinecraftEdu said that approximately 250,000 students around the world have access to Minecraft through the company. A wide variety of educational activities involving the game have been developed to teach students various subjects, including history, language arts and science. For an example, one teacher built a world consisting of various historical landmarks for students to learn and explore.
With the introduction of redstone blocks to represent electrical circuits, users have been able to build functional virtual computers within Minecraft. Such virtual creations include a working hard drive, an 8-bit virtual computer, and emulators for the Atari 2600 and Game Boy Advance. In at least one instance, a mod has been created to use this feature to teach younger players how to program within a language set by the virtual computer within a Minecraft world.
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