What's new
  • Donate and support Agora Road's Macintosh Cafe to keep the forum alive and make any necessary upgrades to have a more pleasant experience! In addition, you will be able to have "moods" enabled on your profile and have donation only awards! Update: I configured the site with Brave Browser, so you can send tips to the site with BAT.

    You can now donate directly to the forum without signing up for patreon. You will still have all of the same perks in patreon but its now one less sign up method. It will be under Account Upgrades

    This is the submission thread for the 2nd E-zine! Please use the dropbox linke for submissions and bump the thread with ideas, comments, statements, or just to bump. If you want to submit your stories or whatever you want to the second edition.

How did the triple A games industry learn almost nothing from the success of Minecraft?

PizzaW0lf

Traveler
Joined
Jul 16, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
243
Awards
25
A few days ago, I was browsing the Wikipedia article on the best-selling games of all time. What really struck me about the list is how little I saw of the seemingly "established" triple A companies. I only really saw EA and Act-blizz a handful of times. Instead, the best-selling game ever is made by Mojang (And Nintendo and Rockstar seem to make the majority of the list).

I will admit some faults to this list like how it fails to account for free-to-play games, and some of the numbers are probably outdated. But regardless, I think the picture is still accurate. Back on the topic, how did Minecraft become the most impactful and best-selling game and yet I haven't seen ANY of the major players take notes from Minecraft in any major way?? Unlike in the AA space where you always see a lot of survival games on steam so clearly a lot of indie game developers are inspired by the game. What I mean by notable is how Minecraft is a game where you can make anything, if you're on java you don't have any MTX or anything like that, Minecraft is built around making it your world, The game had humble beginnings and it's only like 30$. There's just so much that Minecraft has done that's pretty legendary that no one else has really adopted even though it's literally the best-selling game EVER.

I will give some credit though, out of all the greedy companies I think Ubisoft actually took some good notes from Minecraft. Ever since Minecraft, I've noticed Ubisoft add crafting mechanics and other aspects to their games which I think is pretty interesting to see. But even then how come no major company has taken a shot at making a AAA Minecraft competitor? If they really believed in the game they could pump a lot of money into it and make the game feel a lot more fleshed out and more "AAA" than Minecraft. I will admit though that I would prefer Minecraft compared to whatever shlock the AAA industry would put out but still, It would be good to see some kind of competitor.

The core of what I'm really getting at is the problem of how PRIDFUL and so far up their own, AAA games companies have become. You would expect whatever garbage they put out to be successful or be the best selling but no it's actually a simple cube game that would be popular. Is this just a very clear indication of just how corrupt and unbelievably out of touch western AAA companies have become? How are they this blissfully unaware of the popularity? I'm just really baffled as to how this happened. It doesn't even make business sense if you think about it. So much for voting with our wallet.

Also, I realized that I could make a more coherent narrative here but I just wanted to ramble about Minecraft's success and how it still didn't mean much of anything long-term.
 
Virtual Cafe Awards

deepfreeze

Traveler
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
132
Reaction score
296
Awards
42
Minecraft hit its apex right when gaming started transitioning away from open world survival towards battle royale, at which point Fortnight became a smashing success by merging the two. BR has now subsumed everything and no attempt has been made to move back into the survival genre because none of the AA games you mentioned have had any staying power, necessary to farm MTX. They become early access flavor of the month and then disappear, and even that much success appears to have stopped.
 
Virtual Cafe Awards

Orlando Smooth

Traveler
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
79
Reaction score
133
Awards
20
What is there to learn? It's hard to imagine a better sandbox game than Minecraft, especially because it has been updated and had features added to it for so long now. The fact that it's a sandbox also explains why it remains so fun over a decade after it was released. Compared to other games, even really good AAA games (e.g., Witcher III), it blows them out of the water in terms of replayability because of limitless nature of the game. Minecraft already sits on the top, and if another studio tried to release a competitor the general sentiment would be "why would I buy that when I can already play a better version that all my friends own too." Network effects are real, and this is a great example of that.

I think another under-appreciated component of the success is that it is, or at least can be, a very chill game. Games that are not based entirely around having the twitchiest most adderall-induced reflexes are always going to be capable of catching a larger market share.
Minecraft hit its apex right when gaming started transitioning away from open world survival towards battle royale, at which point Fortnight became a smashing success by merging the two.
Not sure I can agree with you here. I suppose you can make the claim that it was at its "apex" here, but Minecraft was made public in 2009 and got an official release it 2011. Fortnite didn't release until 2017. That's an eternity in the gaming world, and it's not as if Minecraft was unpopular prior to 2017. Shit, a friend's younger brother, who didn't even own a gaming console, created a Minecraft server on his mid-grade consumer laptop in 2012 by watching YouTube videos on how to do it. This is someone who was neither techy nor a gamer. The fact that such information was both easily available and easily consumable displays to me anyways that it was not some kind of fringe corner of the internet or a niche hobby.

I think you're generally correct though that battle royale was clearly the next phase of gaming, and Fortnite was/is the king of the genre in the way that Minecraft is the undisputed king of sandbox games.
 
Virtual Cafe Awards

Collision

Green Tea Ice Cream
Joined
Jun 5, 2022
Messages
214
Reaction score
570
Awards
56
A few days ago, I was browsing the Wikipedia article on the best-selling games of all time. What really struck me about the list is how little I saw of the seemingly "established" triple A companies. I only really saw EA and Act-blizz a handful of times. Instead, the best-selling game ever is made by Mojang (And Nintendo and Rockstar seem to make the majority of the list).
Nintendo does indeed make up the majority of the list with 27 (of 51) entries. It would seem to me that it's better to be Nintendo than it is to be Mojang (actually Microsoft anyway). Based on Wikipedia's list alone the recipe for video game success is:
  1. Work for Nintendo
  2. Work on an established title like Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, or Super Smash Bros.
In addition to that Wikipedia is referencing a document put out by Microsoft. They don't actually break down the sales by edition (although they say that Education Edition sold 60 million units) so we have no idea if Microsoft means that Minecraft has sold 238 million units as a specific title or if that's the number overall for all Minecraft games. Microsoft also claims to have sold copies of Minecraft in Antarctica in the same document. All of this makes me a little skeptical of the exactness of this 238 million units figure. Does it include copies packed in with Xbox consoles and Windows OEM PCs? We don't really have an answer.
Back on the topic, how did Minecraft become the most impactful and best-selling game and yet I haven't seen ANY of the major players take notes from Minecraft in any major way??
There's just so much that Minecraft has done that's pretty legendary that no one else has really adopted even though it's literally the best-selling game EVER.
How do we know that Minecraft is impactful or that so much that it has done is legendary? Wii Sports also moved a lot of units. Is Wii Sports impactful and legendary?
I will give some credit though, out of all the greedy companies I think Ubisoft actually took some good notes from Minecraft. Ever since Minecraft, I've noticed Ubisoft add crafting mechanics and other aspects to their games which I think is pretty interesting to see. But even then how come no major company has taken a shot at making a AAA Minecraft competitor? If they really believed in the game they could pump a lot of money into it and make the game feel a lot more fleshed out and more "AAA" than Minecraft. I will admit though that I would prefer Minecraft compared to whatever shlock the AAA industry would put out but still, It would be good to see some kind of competitor.
It feels like you've answered your own question here. How come no major company has taken a shot at making a clone of Minecraft? If they really believed they could make money doing that then they would. Apparently, the big name game studios don't believe that's the case.
The core of what I'm really getting at is the problem of how PRIDFUL and so far up their own, AAA games companies have become. You would expect whatever garbage they put out to be successful or be the best selling but no it's actually a simple cube game that would be popular. Is this just a very clear indication of just how corrupt and unbelievably out of touch western AAA companies have become? How are they this blissfully unaware of the popularity? I'm just really baffled as to how this happened. It doesn't even make business sense if you think about it. So much for voting with our wallet.

Also, I realized that I could make a more coherent narrative here but I just wanted to ramble about Minecraft's success and how it still didn't mean much of anything long-term.
Are these companies simply too proud to copy Minecraft? Where's the evidence of that? Where's the beef? It's kind of a baffling take, in my opinion, that not flooding the market with hundreds of Minecraft clones is evidence of corruption. At the very least, it seems that game companies have enough integrity to attempt to develop their own properties rather than just beat for beat copying whatever title tops the sales list. Personally, I highly doubt that the video game industry at large is unaware that Minecraft is popular. If you're creating games for profit though popularity isn't the only factor. What are the costs of copying Minecraft? What competencies will it require? If you develop those competencies will they be useful in the future? Will copying Minecraft be profitable in the near-term, the long-term, both, or neither? For whatever reason, it's apparently not worth it.
 
Virtual Cafe Awards

shinobu

Jack of all trades
Joined
Dec 17, 2021
Messages
124
Reaction score
814
Awards
73
Minecraft's success has been on my mind for a while since I started reading up on game design, and it really feels like a lot of luck was involved. Early Minecraft was not much more than a tech demo (pretty easy to implement even just using OpenGL) and the more interesting part was the world generation. When it turned into a survival game by taking that world generation, improving it a lot, adding monsters and a day-night cycle, the tech demo evolved in just the right ways. They also added crafting to make more items, blocks, and tools from the world-available items. If you read the changelog from an early version of Infdev from 2010. There already were a lot of features which formed the base of Minecraft as a whole experience.

And what an interesting experience it was. If you try listing out all the features of the game there are so many aspects to dive into: the crafting, the mob spawning behaviour, the lighting, the great world generation (unlike any other procedurally generated world, the choice of voxels to simplify the world's topology made world generation from a seed a better overall process which resulted in worlds worth exploring), the variety of blocks allowing you to build many things, the biomes, the dungeons, trading with villagers, the freedom given by the lack of objectives, etc.
Yet however good the experience was, the game was very hard to get into on its own. The crafting recipes were not available in-game, which meant you had to have another resource open on the side, and there were many mechanics which were similarly unexplained yet you could only learn about them from a wiki or by being bitten by them during gameplay (like hitting the world's build height, or mobs spawning in your house due to low lighting conditions)

I think this issue of "bad" design was solved by a lot of happy coincidences given the time in which Minecraft was released. A community quickly formed around the game, and people's creativity made the game a much greater experience than it normally was: the proliferation of tools and forums+wikis to spread useful information, the emergence of new minigames like building competitions or spleef, the creation of servers with different objectives (construction, anarchy, roleplay, survival, etc.), a great modding community (which produced an incredible amount of mods (99.9999% of them for free!) that extended the game in so many ways, from small utility additions to adding new mobs, biomes, new mechanics (like the engineering mods and the Thaumcraft mods, which were almost expansions of the base game), even new dimensions (remember the Aether mod coming from a supposedly planned Sky dimension?). Most importantly, the massive amount of let's plays from the budding era of Youtubers served as an incredible source of free, organic advertising, all of which contributed to spreading its popularity, and snowballing into a truly huge community.

I played Minecraft pretty early on and it was very different from anything I've ever played before it (and of course, any successors would be permanently cursed by having played the game, which would definitely influence their design decisions, consciously or unconsciously). It feels like copying its success is almost impossible for anyone, even indie developers.
I'd even go as far as saying that Minecraft is a game like Doom, Quake, Pacman, or Tetris: the first game which made a series of choices that define a genre properly. Forcing this phenomenon is very hard.

TLDR: Minecraft is a weird game, with obscure mechanics yet hiding a lot of greatness inside, which was uncovered by the community and I feel like its success was driven by a combination of luck, and Mojang just enjoying extending the game by adding new features, many of which were requested by that same passionate community.
 
Last edited:
Virtual Cafe Awards

elia925-6

Well-Known Traveler
Joined
Aug 28, 2021
Messages
900
Reaction score
1,170
Awards
129
Because most AAA devs are afraid of risking. That's why i see more carbon copy games that don't stand out every year. Bioshock is the exception not the norm because it combines science fiction with political ideologies which is rare in AAA gaming. The same can be said for indies. While there's room for experimental and games with rare themes, most of them are soulslike, uninspiring farm sims trying to copy Animal's crossing success, they don't explore fully cyberpunk aesthetic other than cliche 80s japan neon stuff(There is unique stuff like VA11-Halla and Stray), and Zelda Alttp wannabes without putting effort into the gameplay and themes as a result they look the same.
 
Last edited:
Virtual Cafe Awards

deepfreeze

Traveler
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
132
Reaction score
296
Awards
42
Minecraft's true power comes from emergence. It has a Dwarf Fortress-like quality where it's a simulation first and a game second. This means that while it has many inscrutable mechanics (as shinobu noted), they often interact in fascinating ways and once you understand and master them you can combine them to do almost anything. Your only limit is the shallowness of your psychosis. Every game in the genre since then has been primarily, well, a game where you can only do the things the game explicitly allows you to do.
 
Virtual Cafe Awards

Similar threads