Looking back, it seems so long ago now when a co-worker first introduced me to the browser-based concept game of Minecraft. Which by the way, you can play for free over at the Minecraft website for their 10 year anniversary. The game itself has come a long way from its humble beginnings and has changed in many ways for the better, but as sit back and look at all this progress, I wonder just how much the game has left.
The struggle to stay relevant in an ever-changing market is by no means a shock for any developer. But Minecraft stands in a particularly difficult position as it also has to stand up to the test of time as well. Newer sandbox games have more to offer, better graphics and in some cases even a storyline to follow as well. There are obvious comparisons one could make with games such as Roblox or Trove, who look almost like Minecraft reskins with fancy new gameplay. The point here isn’t to compare games but to look at the current state of the game.
Minecraft has just recently had an update that adds new mechanics, mobs and even a sort of mini even driven raid system on our precious villager population. Previous updates have expanded on the oceans making them more explorable, and before that, the End got a city all of its own! All of these updates went towards making the world just a little bigger and more “alive”. The oceans are teaming with life, and the End has more to do instead of just going and taking down a dragon. With all these great expansions, what is left to do?
Minecraft is a 10-year-old game, and even with its fancy ability now to have (paid for mini-servers) realms, it is becoming very apparent that the game is slowing down. Sales may still be up and the educational aspects of the game are still there as well, but the views are slowly fading and many of the original content creators have all but moved on. This is, of course, does not mean the game is dead by any means but perhaps moving into the “Classic” category.
With custom Java servers running games through PC instead of on consoles, the game can still be what you want it to be. But for the broader scope of the game accessible by cross-platform play, each new update feels like a slow but steady march towards a “sometimes” game. Even if we ignore the obvious cash grab in the form of microtransactions, Minecraft is slowly becoming a game that you only fire up to scratch that nostalgia itch before moving onto something else, or going back to your tried and true standby.