A few months ago, my friends and I decided to start a new Minecraft server. This wasn’t something new for any of us – we’ve dabbled with Minecraft here and there for years, and the need for a chilled out experience away from competitive multiplayer games would occasionally draw us back into its peaceful cuboid world. But we weren’t the only players with the bright idea of jumping back in. Minecraft celebrated its 10th anniversary back in May, and whether players like us realised it or not, this brought the game back into the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Minecraft isn’t experiencing a short-lived resurgence either, oh no. A decade in, its community only continues to grow. Thanks in part to a regular stream of updates, Mojang is able to show off a 112 million-strong monthly player count. And there’s plenty of other projects in the works – the Pokémon Go-like Minecraft Earth, Minecraft Dungeons, a couple of Minecraft books, and even a Minecraft film – which have all helped Minecraft reach a level of popularity I don’t believe anyone truly expected. This isn’t to say Minecraft ever really went away, but a quick look at Google Trends shows you it’s as prominent now, 10 years on, as it’s ever been.
Minecraft has had a hell of a year, and a hell of a decade. But how has it got here? And what do the next 10 years hold? I caught up with lead developer Jens Bergensten and Minecraft Earth executive producer Jesse Merriam ahead of Minecon Live to talk about how Minecraft has stayed so successful – and what it must do to stay on top.