It's pretty astounding to see how far Minecraft has come since it officially launched in 2011. The game has actually been out and available for people to play for a while longer than that, but for the sake of setting records and gaining mass appeal, the credit has to be given to the wider official release (and subsequent re-releases).
The game has a diverse range of fans and players of all ages, with the open-world, create-what-you-want design being a huge contributing factor to the game's success. People like to wander around and create things (although, not always at the same time), and Minecraft offers that in video game form with a simple learning curve.
Following the praise and many accolades the game has received, the Guinness World Records is now stepping in to offer its own batch of recognition, via the Guinness World Records 2015 Gamer’s Edition. To the surprise of no one, Minecraft has broken, and set, several world records over the last few years much like Grand Theft Auto V did after its initial launch (GTA V is second only to Minecraft in all-time sales). However, out of the 14 (yes, 14) records found in the 2015 Gamer's Edition, a couple are less exciting or more obvious that others, like the two records for Best-selling indie game and Most-played Xbox Live game.
The full list of records, and how they were set, are as follows:
- Longest marathon on Minecraft/Longest marathon on a strategy game - Both set by Austrian gamer Martin Fornleitner on August 19-20, 2011, who played the game for 24 hours and 10 minutes on a Sony Xperia Play handset.
- Best-selling indie game - Outside of the console versions publish by bigger companies, the original PC and Mac versions published by Mojang has sold over 16 million copies.
- Largest indie game convention - 7,500 people attended MineCon 2013. The now annual convention began in 2010 and, for comparison, the first event only saw 50 people in attendance.
- First country modeled at full scale in a video game - In April 2014, the Danish Geodata Agency launched a 1:1-scale recreation of Denmark in Minecraft, featuring every building and feature of the 16,602 square mile country for players to explore. The project took 4 billion blocks to complete.
- Largest real-world place created in Minecraft - The Ordnance Survey created a map of Britain and its islands in Minecraft. The 22 billion blocks used represent 86,500 square miles of mainland Great Britain’s 88,745 square miles.
- Most concurrent players in a single Minecraft world - On August 1, 2011, the YouTube channel Yogscast managed to pack together 2,622 players together. The game itself was just about unplayable, but it's the thought (or final player count before the game presumably crashed) that counts.
- Most popular game beta - Over 10 million people signed up to play the beta version of Minecraft between the dates of December 20, 2010 and November 18, 2011. The latter being the day the game officially launched on PC and Mac.
- Most Minecraft snow golems built in one minute - Snow Golems in Minecraft can only be made by stacking two snow block on top of one another, with a pumpkin head used as a head. Nachtigall Vaz created 70 such golems in a minute on January 7, 2013.
- Most viewed fan film based on a video game - In August 2011, YouTube user CaptainSparklez uploaded 'Revenge,' a fan film parody of Usher's 'DJ's Got Us Fallin' In Love.' As of August 2014, the video has over 139 million views.
- Most downloaded Minecraft project - User-created project 'The Dropper,' created by Belgium player 'Bigre,' has been download 1,145,546 as of August 2014. 'The Dropper' tasks players with falling through several structures and reaching the bottom without hitting anything on the way down.
- Most played Xbox Live game - Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition has been played for over 1.75 billion hours, as of May 2014.
- Best-selling Xbox Live Arcade game - According to data from Microsoft, the game had reached 12.4 million copies sold as of April 2014. Seeing as how XBLA is no longer around, it's unlikely that another game will come along to claim this spot.
- Longest journey in Minecraft - In March 2011, Kurt J. Mac decided to try and reach the edge of Minecraft world in the game's survival mode. In march 2014, After three years or traveling and recording his adventure, he discovered he'd walked 1,479,940 blocks or 919,592 miles.
If the above information, combined with everything else that's been said about Minecraft, has been any indication, it's rather clear that people all over the world have come to greatly enjoy Markus 'Notch' Persson's creation. And that there are many that have no problem spending large amounts of time and effort in it's near-endless world. This is why Microsoft was willing to pay upwards of $2.5 billion to acquire the property and its developer, Mojang.
Minecraft certainly isn't for everyone, but credit where credit is due. Come 2016, who knows what other records the blocky game will be involved with as the brand expands. It'll probably be a new record of the above, or something incredibly specific. Let's hope for the latter, as it would be far more interesting.