|Metacritic||(PC) 93/100(PS4) 89/100(XONE) 88/100(PS3) 86/100(NS) 86/100(VITA) 84/100(X360) 82/100(WIIU) 77/100(3DS) 62/100(iOS) 53/100|
|Eurogamer||(PC) 10/10(X360) 9/10|
|Game Informer||(PC) 9.25/10(X360) 8.75/10|
|GameSpot||(PC) 8.5/10(X360) 7.0/10|
|IGN||(PC) 9.0/10(iOS) 7.5/10(X360) 8.5/10(PS3) 9.5/10(PS4) 9.7/10(XONE) 9.7/10(VITA) 9.5/10|
|PC Gamer (US)||(PC) 96/100|
Minecraft is a sandbox video game created by Swedish game developer Markus Persson and released by Mojang in 2011. The game allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world, requiring creativity from players. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Multiple game modes that change gameplay are available, including—but not limited to—a survival mode, in which players must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, and a creative mode, where players have unlimited resources to build with. The Java Edition of the game allows players to modify the game with mods to create new gameplay mechanics, items, textures and assets. In September 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang and the Minecraft intellectual property for US$2.5 billion, with the acquisition completed two months later.
Minecraft received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, and has been described as one of the most influential and greatest video games in history. Social media, parodies, adaptations, merchandise, and the MineCon convention played large roles in popularizing the game. It has also been used in educational environments, especially in the realm of computing systems, as virtual computers and hardware devices have been built in it. It is the single best-selling video game of all time, selling over 176 million copies across all platforms by late 2019, while having over 112 million monthly active players. A number of spin-off games have also been developed, such as Minecraft: Story Mode, Minecraft Earth, and Minecraft Dungeons
|Metacritic||(PC) 93/100(PS4) 89/100(XONE) 88/100(PS3) 86/100(NS) 86/100(VITA) 84/100(X360) 82/100(WIIU) 77/100(3DS) 62/100(iOS) 53/100|
|Eurogamer||(PC) 10/10(X360) 9/10|
|Game Informer||(PC) 9.25/10(X360) 8.75/10|
|GameSpot||(PC) 8.5/10(X360) 7.0/10|
|IGN||(PC) 9.0/10(iOS) 7.5/10(X360) 8.5/10(PS3) 9.5/10(PS4) 9.7/10(XONE) 9.7/10(VITA) 9.5/10|
|PC Gamer (US)||(PC) 96/100|
A few of the monsters in Minecraft, displayed from left to right: the zombie, spider, enderman, creeper, and skeleton.
Minecraft is a 3D sandbox game that has no specific goals to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. However, there is an achievement system. Gameplay is in the first-person perspective by default, but players have the option for third-person perspective. The game world is composed of rough 3D objects—mainly cubes and fluids, and commonly called "blocks"—representing various materials, such as dirt, stone, ores, tree trunks, water, and lava. The core gameplay revolves around picking up and placing these objects. These blocks are arranged in a 3D grid, while players can move freely around the world. Players can "mine" blocks and then place them elsewhere, enabling them to build things.
The game world is virtually infinite and procedurally generated as players explore it, using a map seed that is obtained from the system clock at the time of world creation (or manually specified by the player). There are limits on vertical movement, but Minecraft allows an infinitely large game world to be generated on the horizontal plane. Due to technical problems when extremely distant locations are reached, however, there is a barrier preventing players from traversing to locations beyond 30,000,000 blocks from the center. The game achieves this by splitting the world data into smaller sections called "chunks" that are only created or loaded when players are nearby. The world is divided into biomes ranging from deserts to jungles to snowfields; the terrain includes plains, mountains, forests, caves, and various lava/water bodies. The in-game time system follows a day and night cycle, and one full cycle lasts 20 real-time minutes.
New players have a randomly selected default character skin of either Steve or Alex, but the option to create custom skins was made available in 2010. Players encounter various non-player characters known as mobs, such as animals, villagers, and hostile creatures. Passive mobs, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, can be hunted for food and crafting materials. They spawn in the daytime, while hostile mobs—including large spiders, skeletons, and zombies—spawn during nighttime or in dark places such as caves. Some hostile mobs, such as zombies, skeletons and drowned (underwater versions of zombies), burn under the sun if they have no headgear. Other creatures unique to Minecraft include the creeper (an exploding creature that sneaks up on the player) and the enderman (a creature with the ability to teleport, pick up, and place blocks). There are also variants of mobs that spawn in different conditions; for example, zombies have husk variants that spawn in deserts.
Many commentators have described the game's physics system as unrealistic. Liquids continuously flow for a limited horizontal distance from source blocks, 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 has two alternative dimensions besides the overworld (the main world): the Nether and the End. The Nether is a hell-like dimension accessed via player-built portals; it contains many unique resources and can be used to travel great distances in the overworld. The player can build an optional boss mob called the Wither out of materials found in the Nether. The End is a barren land consisting of many islands. A boss dragon called the Ender Dragon dwells on the main island. Killing the dragon cues the game's ending credits and a poem written by Irish novelist Julian Gough. Players are then allowed to teleport back to their original spawn point in the overworld and continue the game indefinitely.
The game consists of five game modes: survival, creative, adventure, hardcore, and spectator.
It also has a changeable difficulty system of four levels.
The Minecraft crafting screen, showing the crafting pattern of a stone axe
In survival 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 players to build a shelter at night. The mode also has 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. 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 or continuously on peaceful difficulty.
Players can craft a wide variety of items in Minecraft. Craftable items include armor, which mitigates damage from attacks; weapons (such as swords), which allows monsters and animals to be killed more easily; and tools, which break certain types of blocks more quickly. Some items have multiple tiers depending on the material used to craft them, with higher-tier items being more effective and durable. Players can construct furnaces, which can cook food, process ores, and convert materials into other materials. Players may also trade goods with villager NPCs through a bartering system, which involves trading emeralds for different goods and vice versa.
The game has an inventory system, allowing players to carry a limited number of items.
Upon dying, items in the players' inventories are dropped, and players re-spawn at their spawn point, which by default is where players first spawn in the game, and can be reset by sleeping in a bed. Dropped items can be recovered if players can reach them before they despawn after 5 minutes. 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, armor and weapons. Enchanted items are generally more powerful, last longer, or have other special effects.
An example of a creation constructed in Minecraft
In creative mode, players have access to all resources and items in the game through the inventory menu, and can place or remove them instantly. Players can toggle the ability to fly freely around the game world at will, and their characters do not take any damage and are not affected by hunger. The game mode helps players focus on building and creating projects of any size without disturbance.
Adventure mode was designed specifically so that players could experience user-crafted custom maps and adventures. Gameplay is similar to survival mode but with various restrictions, which can be applied to the game world by the creator of the map. This forces players to obtain the required items and experience adventures in the way that the map maker intended. Another addition designed for custom maps is the command block; this block allows map makers to expand interactions with players through scripted server commands.
Spectator mode allows players to fly through blocks and watch gameplay without directly interacting.
Players do not have an inventory, but can teleport to other players and view from the perspective of another player or creature. This game mode can only be accessed within the Java or PC edition.
Multiplayer in Minecraft is available through direct game-to-game multiplayer, LAN play, local split screen, and servers (player-hosted and business-hosted). It enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single world. Players can run their own servers, use a hosting provider, or connect directly to another player's game via Xbox Live. Single-player worlds have local area network support, allowing players to join a world on locally interconnected computers without a server setup. Minecraft multiplayer servers are guided by server operators (op for short), who have access to server commands such as setting the time of day and teleporting players. Operators can also set up restrictions concerning which usernames or IP addresses are allowed or disallowed to enter the server. Multiplayer servers have a wide range of activities, with some servers having their own unique rules and customs. One of the largest and most popular servers is Hypixel, which is visited by over 14 million players. Player versus player combat (PvP) can be enabled to allow fighting between players. Many servers have custom plugins that allow actions 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 having to set up their own. Unlike a standard server, only invited players can join Realms servers, and these servers do not use IP addresses. Minecraft: Java Edition Realms server owners can invite up to twenty people to play on their server, with up to ten players online at a time. Minecraft Realms server owners can invite up to 3000 people to play on their server, with up to ten players online at one time. The Minecraft: Java Edition Realms servers do not support user-made plugins, but players can play custom Minecraft maps. Minecraft Realms servers support user-made add-ons, resource packs, behavior packs, and custom Minecraft maps. At Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016, it was announced that Realms would enable Minecraft to support cross-platform play between Windows 10, iOS, and Android platforms starting in June 2016, with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch support to come later in 2017, and support for virtual reality devices. On 31 July 2017, Mojang released the beta version of the update allowing cross-platform play. Nintendo Switch support for Realms was released in July 2018.
Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, at GDC in 2011
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 visualized 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 new items, new blocks, new mobs, survival mode, and changes to the game's behavior (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 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 designer. On 28 February 2012, Mojang announced that they had hired the developers of the popular server platform "Bukkit" 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 arbitrated on 6 November 2014, and led to Persson becoming one of Forbes' "World's Billionaires". The original version of the game was renamed to Minecraft: Java Edition on 18 September 2017 to separate it from Bedrock Edition, which was renamed to just Minecraft by the Better Together Update.
C418 composed Minecraft's soundtrack
Minecraft's music and sound effects were produced by German musician Daniel Rosenfeld, better known as C418. The background music in Minecraft is instrumental 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. Kirk Hamilton of 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 indie electronic label Ghostly International on 21 August 2015.
A wide variety of user-generated downloadable content for Minecraft, such as modifications, texture packs and custom maps, exists and is available on 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
Community-created resource packs, which alter certain game elements including textures and sounds, are also available. Players can also create their own maps, which often contain specific rules, challenges, puzzles and quests, and share them for others to play. In August 2012, Mojang added adventure mode for custom maps and in October 2012, Mojang added command blocks, which were created specially 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 was 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.
Personal computer versions
Minecraft Classic is an older version of Minecraft that was first available online and can be played through the game's launcher. 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 do not damage players. Some blocks function differently since their behavior 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: Education Edition is a version of Minecraft created specifically for educational institutions and was launched 1 November 2016. It includes a Chemistry Resource Pack, free lesson plans on the Minecraft: Education Edition website, and two free companion applications: Code Connection and Classroom Mode.
Minecraft for Windows 10 is currently exclusive to Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. The beta for it launched on the Windows Store on 29 July 2015. This version has the ability to play with Xbox Live friends, and to play local multiplayer with owners of Minecraft on other Bedrock platforms. Other features include the ability to use multiple control schemes, such as a gamepad, keyboard, or touchscreen (for Microsoft Surface and other touchscreen-enabled devices), virtual reality support, and to record and take screenshots in-game via the built-in GameDVR.
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 said 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 18 January 2017, Microsoft announced that it would no longer maintain the Windows Phone versions of Pocket Edition. On 19 December 2016, the full version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. On 31 July 2017, the Pocket Edition portion of the name was dropped and the apps were renamed simply as Minecraft. The Pocket Edition's engine, known as "Bedrock", was ported to non-mobile platforms Windows 10, Xbox One, Gear VR, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Nintendo Switch. Bedrock engine ports are commonly referred to as the "Bedrock Edition".
An 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 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. An Xbox One version featuring larger worlds among other enhancements was released on 5 September 2014.
Versions of the game for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 were released on 17 December 2013 and 4 September 2014 respectively. The PlayStation 4 version was announced as a launch title, though it was eventually delayed. A version for PlayStation Vita was also released in October 2014. Like the Xbox versions, the PlayStation versions were developed by 4J Studios.
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. A Nintendo Switch version of the game was released on the Nintendo eShop on 11 May 2017, along with a physical retail version set for a later date. During a Nintendo Direct presentation on 13 September 2017, Nintendo announced that New Nintendo 3DS Edition would be available for download immediately after the livestream, and a physical copy available on a later date. The game is only compatible with the "New" versions of the 3DS and 2DS systems, and does not work with the original 3DS, 3DS XL, or 2DS models.
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.
On 20 May 2016, Minecraft China was announced as a localized edition for China, where it was released under a licensing agreement between NetEase and Mojang. The PC edition was released for public testing on 8 August 2017. The iOS version was released on 15 September 2017, and the Android version was released on 12 October 2017. The PC edition is based on the original Java Edition, while the iOS and Android mobile version is based on the Bedrock Edition. The edition is free-to-play, and had a total of 150 million registered accounts across all platforms by October 2018.
Early on, Persson planned to support the Oculus Rift with a port of Minecraft. However, after Facebook acquired Oculus in 2013, he abruptly canceled plans noting "Facebook creeps me out." A community-made modification known as Minecraft VR was developed in 2016 to provide virtual reality support to Minecraft: Java Edition oriented towards Oculus Rift hardware. A fork of the Minecraft VR modification 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 Minecraft on Windows 10. Upon its release, the Minecraft VR mod was discontinued by its developer due to trademark complaints issued by Microsoft, and Vivecraft was endorsed by the community makers of the Minecraft VR modification due to its Rift support and being superior to the original Minecraft VR mod. Also available is a Gear VR version, titled Minecraft: Gear VR Edition. Windows Mixed Reality support was added in 2017. The only officially supported VR versions of Minecraft are Minecraft: Gear VR Edition and Minecraft for Windows 10 for Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
Minecraft: Story Mode
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 is a 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. Wii U  and Nintendo Switch version were also later released  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.
Minecraft Earth is an upcoming augmented reality game that was announced by Microsoft in May 2019. The game will allow players to interact with the world and build Minecraft-style structures and objects that will persist and can be modified by other players. The game will implement the resource-gathering and many of other features of the original game in an augmented-reality setting. The game had a beta release in July 2019.
Minecraft Dungeons is an upcoming dungeon crawler game that was announced to be development at MineCon 2018. Set in the Minecraft universe, the game can be played alone or in a party of up to four people. It will be released for Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 in 2020.
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: "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 neighborhood. Carl Manneh, Mojang's managing director, called the game "the perfect tool to facilitate this process", adding "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 visualize how they wanted to change their part of town. According to Manneh, the project was a helpful way to visualize 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 metres (561 ft) (ranking as the country with the 30th smallest elevation span), where the limit in default Minecraft is around 192 metres (630 ft) above in-game sea level.
Minecraft has also been used in educational settings. In 2011, an educational organization 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. The version of Minecraft through MinecraftEDU includes unique features to allow teachers to monitor the students' progress within the virtual world, such as receiving screenshots from students to show completion of a lesson. 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. Another teacher created a large-scale representation of an animal cell within Minecraft that student could explore and learn how the cell functions work. Great Ormond Street Hospital has been recreated in Minecraft, and it proposed that patients can use it to virtually explore the hospital before they actually visit. Minecraft may also prove as an innovation in Computer Aided Design (CAD). Minecraft offers an outlet of collaboration in design and could have an impact on the industry.
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 (including one by YouTube personality SethBling) 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.
Microsoft and non-profit Code.org had teamed up to offer Minecraft-based games, puzzles, and tutorials aimed to help teach children how to program; by March 2018, Microsoft and Code.org reported that more than 85 million children have used their tutorials. In September 2014, the British Museum in London announced plans to recreate its building along with all exhibits in Minecraft in conjunction with members of the public.
Minecraft received critical acclaim, praising the creative freedom it grants players in-game, as well as the ease of enabling emergent gameplay.PC%20Gamer%20]] Minecraftd 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 favorably, 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 said the game's lack of in-game tutorials and instructions make 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 said visual glitches that occur periodically. Despite its release out of beta in 2011, GameSpot said the game had 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. After updates adding more content, Pocket Edition started receiving more positive reviews. Reviewers complimented the controls and the graphics, but still noted a lack of content.
Minecraft surpassed over a million purchases less than a month after entering its beta phase in early 2011. 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*]]ebcomic. By April 2011, Persson estimated that Minecraft 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, the game has sold 17 million copies on PC, becoming the best-selling PC game of all time. As of 10 October 2014, 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 May 2019, over 176 million copies had been sold across all platforms, making it the best-selling video game of all time.
The Xbox 360 version of Minecraft became profitable within the first day 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 a 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, 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. The game, including all of its versions, had over 112 million monthly active players by September 2019.
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 and the 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 Persson 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. In addition, the Java Edition was nominated for "Favorite Video Game" at the 2018 Kids' Choice Awards. In September 2019, The Guardian classified Minecraft as the best video game of (the first two decades of) the 21st century.
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 influence 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 four 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 company 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 rumors, 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 Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, Choplifter HD, Super Meat Boy, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Binding of Isaac, The Stanley Parable, 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. The game is also referenced heavily in "Informative Murder Porn", the second episode of the seventeenth season of the animated television series South Park. "Luca$", the seventeenth episode of the 25th season of the animated sitcom The Simpsons was inspired by Minecraft.
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. 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 response to Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang and their Minecraft IP, various developers announced further clone titles 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). Despite this the fears were unfounded with official Minecraft releases on Nintendo consoles eventually resuming. Pearson also made Minicraft for a Ludum Dare competiiton in 2011.
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. In 2014, an attempt to crowdfund a fan film through Kickstarter was shut down after Persson refused to let the filmmakers use the license.
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". By February 2014, Persson revealed that Mojang was in talks with Warner Bros. Pictures regarding a Minecraft film and, by that October, it was "in its early days of development". The film was scheduled for release on 24 May 2019, and was going to be directed by Shawn Levy and written by Jason Fuchs. Levy later dropped out and was replaced by Rob McElhenney. In August 2018, McElhenney left the film and Fuchs was replaced with Aaron and Adam Nee resulting in its release date getting delayed. In January 2019, Peter Sollett was announced to write and direct the film. The film is now expected to be released to theater on 4 March 2022.
A physical prop of a diamond sword
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, larger Lego minifigure scale, sets became available November 2014.
Mojang often 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. MineCon 2017 was held as a livestream instead of being held at a show floor. Titled "MineCon Earth", it was streamed live in November.