At the time of this writing, 19,802,2345 people have registered online for a Minecraft account (not sure how accurate that first number is as it appears to be a simple timed counter) and 4,617,339 have purchased the game. Needless to say, it proved itself a long time ago to be a monstrous success and it reigned supreme as one of the most buzzed about games of 2011.
Since it's release in November however, the tides have calmed on the Minecraft front, partly due to the lack of updates now that it's released in full, and party due to all of the other games that came out in the fall. That may change tomorrow with the possibility of the first major post-launch update.
The information comes directly from Jens "Jeb" Bergensten, the lead developer on Minecraft. Really, he's been the only full-time developer working on Minecraft and has been for a long time, with Minecraft creator Notch assisting before the game launched in full but moving on to other projects. Jens is now joined by new Mojang member Jon Kagstrom with the rest of the staff at Mojang is focused on their second game in development, Scrolls, a game that's earned its fair share of publicity thanks to the highly publicized legal battle with Bethesda. Mojang will not hire a team of developers for the game due to Notch's philosophy on teams and maintaining a game's "personality." You can read more about that on Notch's personal blog.
The major thing Jens is working on is the long-in-development Modding API for Minecraft which would add official mod support to the game, something much desired (read: needed) by the non tech savvy playing the vanilla version of the game. For an idea of other tweaks and updates the game has endured, the below features were listed in the latest Minecraft snapshot last week:
- New language translations. We changed from using Google Docs to a new system, so these may still contain a lot of errors or missing texts. Please check the Minecraft forums (language section) for more info.
- Slightly smoothed color transitions between biomes
- Reduced brewing time to 20 seconds
- Decreased randomness of Enchantment Tables
- Changed colors of spawning eggs to more represent the mobs they spawn
- Made biomes slightly more varied (hills in forests and deserts, beaches)
- Added world type options (currently only super-flat and default)
- Removed collision box from ladders
- Updated fence gate collision box to align with fences
With the Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 version of Minecraft coming this year with an entirely new interface, we wonder how it'll compare to the PC version by the time it debuts. It's being developed by 4J Studios, the team behind the XBLA remakes of Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie.
In other news, Cobalt, the first third party indie game to be published by Mojang had its v101a update release last week as well.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.