While the sandbox-themed PC game Minecraft was first launched to the public in its alpha form in 2009, today is the first anniversary of the game's developer Mojang as a full-fledged professional game creator. Minecraft's main developer Markus "Notch" Persson noted the anniversary today on his blog. He states, "Back then, Minecraft had sold between half a million and one million copies, and now we’re up to almost four million copies sold, we’re expanding to two new platforms, and we’re getting good progress done with our new game."
Persson also looked back at the creation of Minecraft itself which started out as a top down mining-based game. Later he decided to change the design, saying, "I played a game called Infiniminer and realized the first person perspective with blocky graphics worked really well and started prototyping it. The game went from being about controlling a team of characters to being a single player first person experience, with a focus on resource gathering and a somewhat coherent fantasy setting that would provide hopefully constant challenges and things to do."
Minecraft launched in an alpha version in 2009 and in the summer of 2010 it began to get some attention from game developers and journalists who enjoyed how players could pretty much create anything they wanted in the virtual world. Sales began to pick up around that time as well. Persson was able to quit his normal job thanks to the increased sales and work on Minecraft as a full time game developer. While he was courted to join other game developers such as Valve, he decided to create his own game development company, Mojang, instead. He hired other people to join the team and now he says, " ... we’re 12 people in the office, with three more signed up. We’re looking for a bigger office now. Fun!"
As Persson said, Minecraft itself has exploded in terms of sales. The PC version of the game has now sold over 3.8 million copies and should reach the 4 million mark by the beginning of November. The game still sells between 9,000 and 12,000 copies a day. More recently an Android version of Minecraft has been released and an Xbox 360 version is in the works. The PC version of Minecraft will officially come out of its current beta phase during the first official MineCon event in Las Vegas on November 18-19.