It’s been pretty clear to anyone paying attention that Minecraft has been seeing a resurgence lately, but now we actually can quantify that to some degree.
This week, Microsoft has told Business Insider that Minecraft has rocketed to 112 million monthly players, a 20 million increase over the last time they reported those figures in October 2018. This is a game that is now a decade old, and more relevant than ever.
Other than “it’s good and people like it” there are any number of explanations for the recent explosion of Minecraft. There was a new update around the ten year anniversary that added a lot of new content. 100 million subscriber YouTuber PewDiePie is credited with bringing back the game in the “influencer” scene, with his channel practically devoted to nothing but Minecraft the last few months. And then there’s the slow fade of Fortnite as players transition out of that megahit and back into other games, Minecraft among them.
Minecraft’s rise is even more impressive considering that on most platforms, it isn’t actually free, unlike Fortnite. Though some may credit Microsoft putting it in the Xbox Game Pass as a move that has boosted its playercount further.Today In: Innovation
Fortnite seems to know that Minecraft is pulling away players, which is why we have seen the birth of Creative Mode in that game and continued devotion to building it out. But Minecraft remains the original, and should only keep capitalizing on its popularity with future releases like Minecraft Dungeons, which combines the original with Diablo-like dungeons and looting.
All in all, the refrain I keep hearing from Minecraft players is that’s a game people like to return to after a while away, and in this case, I think there’s kind of a snowball effect where so many people returned to it together, it felt like old friend groups could all rejoin the game at once and have as much fun playing now as they may have 3-8 years ago.
Microsoft’s $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft felt kind of odd at the time, but they now own one of the most played games in the world. I am willing to bet that 112 million monthly players is more than Fortnite has right now, and possibly only is competing with mobile titles at that scale. It’s deeply impressive.
Expect Minecraft to live forever, and to continue to be relevant with upcoming releases like Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft Earth, the AR play that will take aim at Pokémon GO next.