Opinion: You’ve made the biggest game on Earth - now what?

Alex Calvin
Opinion: You’ve made the biggest game on Earth - now what?

We all know that Minecraft is a big game.

We have seen the numbers. Tens of millions of units of the sandbox game have been sold worldwide.

Entire careers have been created out of people uploading videos of themselves playing the game online via YouTube.

The books alone have sold in the millions. No wonder Microsoft spent $2.5bn acquiring Swedish developer Mojang.

But those are just numbers. Its success was most tangible when Minecon – the annual celebration of all things Minecraft – reached the UKlast weekend at London Excel.

Minecraft appears to defy gravity. Surely, six years after it launched in alpha, we should be seeing some erosion by now?

But a record-breaking 10,000 people shelled out 129 each to be at Minecon, many dressed up as their favourite Minecraft characters, queuing for hours to see panels of developers or YouTubers, and to check out the latest Minecraft merchandise. For one weekend, London Excel was Disneyland for Minecraft.

At the event, Mojang vowed to develop and evolve the core game by itself while giving other developers access to build spin-offs (such as TellTale's Story Mode). It is currently taking the game to Windows 10 and to HoloLens. Even Nintendo platforms could be on the horizon, too.

And the biggest and most popular game in the world is going to breach some new frontiers, too.

Schools for a start. Mojang keeps hammering on about its Education programme and its dream of being in every education institute in the world.

It is also teaming up with the likes of the UN to help build houses in Nairobi with its Block by Block scheme.

All of this, Mojang tells us this week, would not have been possible without the huge cash injection it received from its new owners at Microsoft. There were fears at the beginning that Microsoft's acquisition might have a negative impact on Minecraft, but there was no evidence of that at Minecon.

For now it seems Microsoft is helping Mojang stay in keeping with the game it created. The developer is knocking down the blocks that separate video games from the real world.

And it is continuing to build in some unexpected places.

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