Here’s Why Minecraft Become Popular Again

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Minecraft is a sandbox indie game made back in 2009, and over the years, its popularity grew to perhaps unreachable lengths, but it wasn’t always like this. Although Minecraft was undeniably popular even back in the day, it would seem that it has reached an all-time high in recent years. Why is that? Why did Minecraft become popular again after a period when people seemed to have forgotten all about it?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Minecraft became popular again in 2019 when COVID-19 hit and locked us all in our homes.
  • It grew in popularity mostly because of Minecraft-related YouTube content being put out.
  • Minecraft-related YouTube content reached a total of 1 trillion views in 2021.

Minecraft’s popularity over time

Although Minecraft was originally released back in 2009, it’s seen its official release on November 8th, 2011, at the first MineCon. This was when Bedrock and Pocket Edition were released, although both versions were a work in progress back then.

We can’t talk about average monthly active users until 2016, but we can talk about annual revenue from the beginning. This is what it looks like.

YearAnnual revenue ($mm)
201221
201333
201445
201555
201672
201777
201888
2019111
2020142
2021161
Source

Although Minecraft’s revenue steadily grew each year, the biggest revenue increase happened in the period after 2018. From 2018 to 2019, the difference in revenue grew by $23.000.000; from 2019 to 2020, the revenue increased by $31.000.000, while from 2020-2021, we again saw an increase in revenue, but the amount dropped down more to previous levels, $19.000.000

But this doesn’t tell us how popular Minecraft was; it only talks about how many people bought the game and its add-ons. We need to look at average monthly active users through the years to get the most accurate idea of how popular it was and how and when its popularity grew or fell.

YearMonthly Active Users (mm)
201640
201755
201875
201991
2020131
202193

Remember that these are just estimates, and we can’t get precise data on how many people play Minecraft each year. From this table, we can conclude that the most successful years for Minecraft were 2019, 2020, and 2021. Minecraft was always dominant in monthly active user counts, so how did that manage to happen, and why are the years previously mentioned still monumental for Minecraft’s success?

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Minecraft YouTubers

Minecraft YouTubers began creating content in 2011 when the game was first released. So it’s not like YouTube saved Minecraft from its inevitable doom, but it helped keep it afloat.

According to Kweeebec, Minecraft-related content on YouTube lived through its peak in 2013. In 2017, it hit rock bottom, but in 2018 and 2019, new mods and data packs were getting released, and players started to realize that Minecraft might still be a fun game after all.

The biggest spike in views was witnessed when PewDiePie started uploading Minecraft content, and it was at that time that the player base returned and grew even more.

A Covid-19 hit

What also helped Minecraft back in 2019 was that COVID-19 took the world by storm and locked us all in our homes. Many content creators transitioned to making content from the comfort of their homes, and what better way to create cheap content than to have fun while doing it – playing games?

So yes, we can thank COVID-19 for Minecraft’s newfound success in 2019, but that was three years ago. It can’t be that COVID-19 single-handedly brought Minecraft to its current fame. It didn’t, but it gave it the nudge it desperately needed. From then on, it was just a matter of keeping it afloat.

Minecraft is not just one game, it’s a franchise, and most of the successful spin-offs came out in the 2019-2021 period, like Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft Earth, although Minecraft Earth was shut down in 2021. This was a way to keep it afloat, but Minecraft’s most popular games are still Java and Bedrock.

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Minecraft Pocket Edition was originally released as an Xperia PLAY exclusive app but was later released for Android and iOS operating systems. Why is it so relevant to the story? It’s relevant because out of all Minecraft copies sold, Pocket Edition has the most sales, 131.000.000 to be exact, while Minecraft has sold 238.000.000 copies worldwide. It’s responsible for 30% of all of Minecraft’s revenue.

Minecraft pocket edition 1

I can’t speak about how Mojang and Microsoft approached it and why they released it, but I speculate that they wanted to present Minecraft as a game you can play even if you don’t have a PC or a console. It was a major success. It’s the most popular version in North and South America and Asia.

Another bonus is that you can play it anywhere, and it’s a lot cheaper than other versions of the game, even though I, as a seasoned Java Edition player, feel I could never fully be satisfied playing on a mobile phone.

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How’s it going

Monthly active users haven’t dropped compared to its most successful year, 2021. The most successful month was January, with over 174.000.000 active users, but if you look at the rest, it is declining very slowly but surely.

It’s not like Mojang has anything to worry about since, as a whole, it looks like 2022 will be another great year for Minecraft and its user stats since it will be another most successful year. The average was 161.000.000 in 2021, while in 2022, it might be 172.000.000.

Predictions for the future

It’s hard to predict anything with Minecraft. No one knew that it would have its little renaissance back in 2019 and that it would continue to this day. Player interest might drop just as easily, but even with that, it’s not likely that Minecraft will ever lose its enormous player base since it is a game you can always come back to.

You might have a new build in mind, find a new game mode, or perhaps, a new game mode will be released. The future is bright, and I don’t think Minecraft will stop being the most popular game in the world for a long time. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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