Minecraft over the years has changed drastically. More and more content has been added, the focus/use of the game has changed, and the popularity has differed a lot during the Game’s existence. So how did it get so insanely popular in the first place? What has changed about the game since its release? Why did the game die? How has it regained some popularity recently?
How did the game become popular?
The real reason is behind what you can do in the game. Minecraft is named to be a literal sandbox with endless possibilities/infinite replay ability. This means that you are able to create anything and experience whatever genre of game play you want. The only limit is your imagination. This game is amazingly unique which is why I believe the game got so many players in the first place. Most games tend to have set goals within them, so I think that with Minecraft, people feel a sense of freedom. Besides the idea behind the game, there was another key factor as to how it gained popularity.
Minecraft YouTubers were a huge influence on many players. They were a big reason as to why Minecraft became popular. These channels made content such as hunger games, hide and seek, red stone tutorials, build challenges and survival series. Some people have mentioned that Minecraft YouTubers were the reason YouTube itself became popular as the majority of content creators on YouTube were Minecraft gamers, which is understandable. As viewers watched the Minecraft content on YouTube, they became excited and inspired from the videos making them want to check out the game themselves. This therefore brought on more and more players increasing the popularity in a short space of time. The game managed to peak its popularity in 2013 as it reached 125,000,000 players.
What has changed about the game since its release?
More alternative ways of playing were added through things like mini games. The focus became less on adding game play features and more about personal customization. The amount of materials (blocks) in the game increased and more skin and texture packs were added, but in-depth game play features were forgotten.
Why did the game die?
On September 25th, 2014 Microsoft bought the rights to Minecraft and Mojang studios for $2.5 billion. Notch and other influential developers ended up leaving the studio to pursue other interests with their newfound money.
When Notch was in control of the game it was fun and enjoyable, but after Microsoft bought it, pointless updates were released that didn’t add to the fun of the game. This caused the game to become mundane, so the number of players started to decrease.
The Minecraft YouTube community started to lose following too. In 2015 and 2016, many prominent Minecraft YouTubers were caught or accused of attempting to prey on children through their platform. This caused the entirety of the community to go into a tailspin. Views on most channels plummeted due to these incidents.
Gaming YouTubers were moving on from Minecraft anyway and started to look into other games that were more popular, and some YouTubers quit YouTube as a whole, so the Minecraft YouTube community was completely drained out during this time.
How has it regained popularity recently?
Some people have argued that the game has seen some improvement recently and others believe that people are just coming back for nostalgia. The game also had its 10th anniversary in 2019 so players were perhaps coming back to the game as a celebration.