In a league of popularity all its own, Minecraft is a game that needs no introduction. A smash hit in its alpha and beta phases and a global phenomenon as of its full release in 2011, there has not been a game to see such mass appeal and fervor since Pokemon's initial Gameboy Color release in the 1990s.
Minecraft is credited for making sandbox games not only popular, but a genre nearly every gamer has played. The game's simple beginnings as a creative sandbox opened the gates for hundreds of thousands at the time to open their imaginations and learn the love of creation--and destruction--in ways they never knew they could before.
Though it started as a simple game, Minecraft has grown into much more than a creative sandbox. Player-versus-player modes, minigames, and a wealth of other gameplay varieties can be found in the game, provided you know where to look.
Privately-run servers for the game are larger in number than some game console libraries, and literally millions of fans of all ages log into these servers each day not only to relax, create, or learn, but also to compete.
One of the biggest reasons the game has continued to thrive is its openness to player-run servers and modability, both of which being the lifeblood of Minecraft as it is today.
As announced at E3 2017, Minecraft is among the first games to become cross-platform compatible. Cross-platform compatibility is available on Xbox One, Switch and PC.
Funnily enough Minecraft was initially developed by one man, Markus Persson (also known as "Notch"). Its full release brought a bigger development team known as Mojang, and with it came the game's meteoric rise to a phenomenon.
In 2014, unable to ignore the vast appeal and continuing rise of Minecraft's popularity, Microsoft purchased Mojang from original owner and developer Markus Persson for $2.5 billion. Despite Microsoft's own investment in its video game console division the game has continued to be released and updated on non-Microsoft-owned platforms, perhaps a testament to the value and sales potential of what is still the most popular game in the industry.