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Minecraft is an extraordinarily popular video game. I know this because I have two sons under ten years old and it's almost all they talk about. I can also use the internet to learn that, as of October 2018, the Mojang-developed sandbox phenomenon has a whopping 91 million players per month. That is plenty.
But, there's more: a lot, lot more, as it happens. According to Minecraft studio head Helen Chiang, speaking to Business Insider, the game now has 112 million players per month. One hundred and twelve million players, per month.
Chiang told the site: "What we find is that Minecraft is a game that players keep coming back to. It may not always be the one in the forefront, because there are a lot of great games that continue to come out, but it's the one that they love to return to."
And I guess I can see that play out in real time at home: my kids will get interested in a new release - this year, that's included Super Mario Maker 2, Dragon Quest Builders 2 and most recently, and surprisingly, the excellent throwback beat 'em up River City Girls - but they always, always, come back to Minecraft. That's probably why it's the one game they have posters of, the one they wear on their t-shirts. I might not play it, and don't, but I wouldn't bet against it being the most-played game installed on my home PS4.
Minecraft initially launched in May 2009 as a developmental version, before getting a widespread commercial release in November 2011. Since then it's been released on just about any device you can play a video game on, and as of May 2019 had sold 176 million copies across all platforms, making it the best-selling game of all time ahead of Tetris and Grand Theft Auto V.
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Minecraft was added to Xbox Game Pass in April 2019, which has no doubt played a huge part in boosting that monthly figure. It's also spawned a handful of spin-off games, like the choose-you-own-adventure Story Mode, the upcoming Dungeons, and the mobile AR game Minecraft Earth.
To put that 112 million monthly players into some context: it represents one-third of the population of the United States (says PC Gamer, anyway) and double the population of the United Kingdom. In comparison to another game, it's some 12 million monthly users ahead of Roblox, which reached 100 million in August, when it claimed to be more popular than Minecraft.
Looks like Microsoft and Mojang have run the numbers again, though, to shut that kind of talk down. As for Roblox at home? Forget about it. Yesterday's news, say the kids.
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