Sunday, January 6, 2013

Minecraft is still selling like hotcakes

Both the Xbox and the Pocket Edition recently hit sales milestones recently, which allow us to easily calculate total sales across all platforms:

PC/Mac: 8.7 million
Xbox: 5 million
Pocket: 5 million
Total: 18.7 million

In early December it was reported that the XBox version was selling 40-60K copies every week, and Notch himself tweeted that Minecraft sold 453k copies on all platforms on Christmas day.

In November, 2011 Minecraft had sold 4 million copies; in the fourteen months since then it has sold another 14.7 million across all platforms.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When Notch stepped aside, legions of young Minecraft fans missed daddy

[Another post exhumed from deep in the drafts folder.]

In December 2011, Notch announced that he was stepping aside from Minecraft development:

Notch tweeted "As of yesterday, @jeb_ is the lead developer on Minecraft!" [Link no longer works due to Twitter's link rot.]

So although it had been telegraphed for weeks, when Notch himself finally announced it on Twitter and his blog, these young fans were left in a state of shock. Many were caught blindsided; the news item on the Minecraft Forum received over 500 comments, many to the effect that they "didn't see it coming."

Note the first four choices in this poll on the forum:
  • I miss him. D:
  • I kinda miss him
  • I think it'll be okay without him
The abandonment issues raised by Notch's move were so strong that many young fans were in denial. This was perfectly illustrated by a comment to an item in Blue's News:

Hes not abandoning it ether, hes still going to do work on it in addition to his new project, its just he wont be the lead man anymore.

The meme that Notch would "still do some work on Minecraft" appeared many times in posts on Minecraft Forum.

Apparently one characteristic when a game's community has a large percentage of younger players is that they will reject news from credible sources. This not only includes gaming news sites such as gamespy and IGN, but even Notch himself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Autograph lines at Minecon, is this a kid thing?

[This is one of several posts that's been sitting in draft form for way too long.]

One thing that struck me when watching videos of November 2011's Minecon was the large number of young attendees at the conference. Minecon 2011 was crawling with kids!

I'm not sure how Minecon 2012 compared to 2011 regarding the age of attendees. I only watched a single video from Minecon 2012 covering the API session, and during the Q&A there were a number of questions from kids. Being children they had a bit of trouble staying on topic, often asking questions about future developments in Minecraft itself rather than about the forthcoming API.

One blogger noted that the Q&As:

…meant sitting through a variety of children asking redundant things that have been answered a hundred times over, but you have to bite the biscuit on that sort of thing. The convention certainly opened my eyes to the volume and variety of people playing this game. Many of them are children, which just highlights the need for mindfulness, particularly when playing on servers. You’re probably surrounded by at least ten or so minors under the age of 12.

Here's a report from an attendee mentioning both autographs and kids at Minecon 2012:

Most of the panels were not informative at all, for example the Editing Panel were just them saying; “We use this software, and this” and answering questions from 10 year olds, asking why their video had black bars…Minecon is pretty expensive, but there were still a lot of kids around, but that is just a part of the Minecraft community. We spent a lot of time with Martyn (InTheLittleWood). And we could not walk for 10 min without 7 people wanting his autograph.

A year ago in Las Vegas the young fans at Minecon 2011 worshiped Notch like a god and stood in line for hours to get his autograph. Notch and other members of the Mojang staff spent considerable time signing autographs. (Minecon 2011 sold out with an attendance of 5000, and at the time I recall hearing reports of some disappointed fans who left Minecon without an autograph, but I can't find sources for that now.)

Apparently this year's Minecon 2012 had autograph lines too:

Oh man why did I stay in a line for an autograph while I could've attended Sethbling's panel

I've never attended any gamer-oriented gatherings. Do people wait for hours in autograph lines at QuakeCon, BlizzCon, or PAX, or is this only a feature of gatherings with large numbers of young attendees such as Minecon?