Minecraft has hit a milestone 112 million active players each month, 10 years after the launch of the ever-popular cooperative creation game. That’s an increase of 21 million active monthly players from the last time Microsoft reported figures back in October 2018. It also means that Minecraft once again has more active players than Roblox, which somewhat surprisingly announced that it reached 100 million monthly active players in August, while Minecraft's last reported player count was 91 million.
When Minecraft launched in 2009, it was not just a massive hit, but a pop culture phenomenon. Since then, it’s fallen out of the spotlight somewhat, but it’s continued to keep a large population of dedicated players engaged and pick up new fans along the way. Microsoft acquired the game in 2014 and has been continually rolling out updates ever since, even severing ties with Minecraft’s controversial creator, Notch. While it’s been pushed out of the conversation by games like Fortnite, Minecraft still has more active players than the seemingly omnipresent shooter, which last reported 78.3 million active monthly players in August 2018.
Helen Chiang, the studio head for Minecraft at Microsoft, recently revealed the 112 million active player figure in an interview with Business Insider. Chiang added that other games may get more attention and even pull players away from Minecraft from time to time, but “it’s one that they love to return to.” Clearly, the Minecraft franchise is looking to expand beyond that as well, with the beta and upcoming release of Minecraft Earth. In response to the article, industry analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted that the game has sold more than 180 million copies internationally, and a free-to-play version only available in China has over 200 million registered players.
Minecraft now has 112 million monthly active players across all versions. This is up from 91 million last year.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 14, 2019
The international version has sold more than 180 million paid copies. The free to play version in China has over 200 million registered users.https://t.co/36ffFapskG
Minecraft’s approachability and the ease with which players can jump back in between other games may be factors in its success, but they’re not the only reason for the game’s recent growth. As of April, Minecraft is included with Xbox Game Pass, which may have brought an influx of new players who missed the Minecraft craze the first time around, or convinced lapsed players to give it another shot. Last June, cross-play was added across PC, Switch, Xbox, and mobile platforms, making it a more attractive multiplayer option. Some popular streamers have also been flocking back to Minecraft, which likely drove more than a few of their followers back to the game as well.
Whatever the reason for Minecraft’s recent boost, it’s rare to see a game stay so popular for so long after its release. While Minecraft’s simplistic look may seem like a strike against it at first, it may actually be a point in its favor, making it approachable for kids and non-gamers alike. It may be aiming for even wider mass appeal when the long-awaited Minecraft movie is finally released.