Creating games and is not very easy. Well, the technical part is within the reach of many people-especially with the advent of intuitive engines like Dreams-but that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is the idea. The simpler it is, the easier it is to sell. All super-successful projects can be described in a few words. If a couple of words make a person enthusiastic, it means you have a future hit on your hands. Or, at the very least, a way to make a name for yourself to the world. Someone like Sean Murray at Hello Games was becoming a celebrity long before the game itself was even released-just a flashy image was enough to make the world go crazy. But pretty quickly he realized that fame has a downside.

It’s hard to say whether Markus Persson knew what the future held for him. In 2009, he was a simple programmer, who had the idea to create a video game unlike anything else. It had to be accessible and understandable, but it didn’t need instructions. It had to be fascinating, but it had to be endless and plotless. And most importantly, its world was not filled by programmers or designers like him, but by the players themselves. What may have seemed like a nifty way to make their jobs easier became the secret ingredient to success. Freedom is an element that simply did not exist in video games before Minecraft. At least, not in this magnitude.

In fact, Persson (better known simply as “Notch”) gave the world a virtual version of the Lego constructor.

The secret of the Swedish game designer lies in the fact that he intentionally forgot all the rules. It was for his ability to forget everything that came before him that the famous developer Peter Molyneux applauded his young colleague. He started with a clean slate. He reinvented video games.

Today’s video games are almost always the brainchild of huge studios with hundreds of employees. Big blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are developed simultaneously by people from all over the world: while one main studio works on the core, freelancers from another part of the world can do the assets. But in 2009, Persson was alone.

It was summer, and he decided to experiment and make a kind of remix of two games he knew well, Dwarf Fortress and Infiniminer. The work lasted for one weekend, at the end of which a rough sketch of the future hit was ready. He posted his brainchild on the TIGSource forum. A month would pass, and he would start charging for the game. It cost 10 euros.

It was a start. Forty digital copies were sold in two days. And the further it went, the more popular the novelty became. Notch, who obviously knew something about marketing, deliberately didn’t want to release a finished product. Instead, he kept teasing people with updates that expanded the capabilities of digital avatars. “The important thing is that people started talking about the game,” he said. And so it is. Word of mouth was the best advertising for a project like this. Why pay for TV spots and billboards when 4chan and Reddit did everything for you?

Mojang Studios would soon be formed. It was founded by Notch himself and Jakob Porser, a colleague with whom he worked at In November 2010 a beta version was launched. On November 18, 2011 the game was officially “finished” and deprived of beta status – this happened shortly after the release of mobile versions for iOS and Android. On January 12, 2011 the Swede celebrated the milestone of one million copies sold.

This was a turning point. Already in December, Jens Bergensten, instead of Notch, would become the chief designer. The more successful the game became, the more developers worked on it. In 2013 the game reached PlayStation 3, but it was not the main event of the year, because then the famous update called The Update That Changed The World was also released. It added a lot of new biomes and features.

The culmination of the saga was the sale of Minecraft to Microsoft for $2.5 billion in 2014. It was the idea of Persson himself, who was tired of being criticized by perpetually disgruntled fans. The deal turned Notch into a billionaire overnight.

In the same year, “Minecraft” began to be actively released on all possible platforms. Versions for Xbox One, PS4, and even PS Vita appeared. The last two releases are especially interesting, because by that time the IP was already owned by Microsoft, which, of course, does not often release its own games on the “enemy” platform. In a sense, it was this title that started serious conversations about cross-platforming.

Nothing much interesting happened in 2015, although the Wii U version was released. That’s when Microsoft started thinking about expanding the franchise, and Telltale, known for its story projects, got the license for the game based on the motif. The result of the collaboration – Story Mode, which, incidentally, was released not only on the usual platforms, but also on the streaming service Netflix.

In 2016, Mojang released Education Edition, designed specifically for schools. By the way, at the same time polar bears appeared in the game. Isn’t that a historical event?

A year later, two more versions will be released – for Switch and 3DS. Since then, the development of the game slowed down. Updates kept coming out (like the sea update in 2018), and players from all platforms got more and more opportunities to play together. What’s funny, here “Minecraft” became not only one of the most influential games in history, spawning a mass of clones, but it even inspired completely different genres. Fortnite and PUBG, for example; if you don’t remember, a mod based on “The Hunger Games” came even earlier.

Now, in 2020, the franchise continues to evolve. Microsoft is trying in every way possible to make it into something like Mario, which combines games from a wide variety of genres. And this spring there was a release of Minecraft: Dungeons, inspired by Diablo. It wasn’t a great success, though, and was criticized for not being ambitious enough. And flirting with Netflix also was not in vain: in 2022 a full-length film based on Minecraft will be released. What’s to come?