Minecraft has crossed 300 million sales ahead of its 15th birthday next year.
The milestone was announced by developer Mojang at Minecraft Live 2023 and the studio said “no-one could have dreamed” of passing that figure when it first began working on the title.
Minecraft debuted back in 2009 and has since become a globally recognized franchise. The title has been ported onto a myriad of platforms including consoles, handhelds, smartphones, and evensmart devices like Apple TV.
It has also spawned a number of spin-offs like Minecraft Legends, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft Earth. Those projects have delivered varying degrees of success, with Dungeons crossing 25 million players earlier this year–although activesupport was recently nixed.
Minecraft Earth, meanwhile, was an augmented reality title that failed to gain traction due, in part, to the fact it launched just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mojang shut down the location-based game in 2021, less than two years after it launched.
Minecraft bet continues to pay off for Microsoft
Those spin-offs were all released under the watchful eye of Microsoft, which purchased Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. When announcing the deal almost a decade ago, Mojang indicated the meteoric success of Minecraft had left creator Markus “Notch” Persson disillusioned and would allow him to step out of the spotlight.
“[Notch has] decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle,” said Mojang’s director of creative comms, Owen Jones, at the time.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer claimed the deal would allow Microsoft to add “diversity” to its game portfolio and enable it to reach players across multiple platforms.
Spencer was ultimately proven correct. Back in June, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart revealed Minecraft generated roughly four times as much revenue on Nintendo Switch than Xbox throughout 2021, highlighting the broad appeal of Mojang’s enduringsandbox.
A lifetime sales milestone of 300 million units is a hell of a journey when you look back at the game’s early performance in 2009 and 2010. There was a time in the game’s history when just crossing 320,000 copies sold was a notable milestone.
At the time, Persson stated in an interview that he didn’t expect the game’s strong sales to last forever, and that he didn’t really know why the game was selling so well. Persson was so sure the game’s popularity would taper off that he promised to release the source code after players moved on to greener pastures.
The way Minecraft is still selling, it might very well be decades before such a scenario ever comes to pass.