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Why is Minecraft not free?

Why is Minecraft not free?
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This is a better question than it seems at first glance. Because there are plenty of free games out there that make money via advertising and microtransactions and whatnot, and you could certainly make a Minecraft type game and monetize it that way.

So, why isnu2019t Minecraft free to play?

Because of its history.

Minecraft didnu2019t start off as some big cash-grab Microsoft project that was going to run on tons of platforms. It started off as a little indy project.

In fact, it was an indy project inspired by another indy project called Infiniminer that got abandoned.

(An early screenshot of Minecraft before it got fully developed)

Notch didnu2019t set out to create some juggernaut franchise that people still play decades later. He tried to create a fun little game using voxels that he hoped people would enjoy playing and maybe even throw enough money his way for him to make a living working on it.

Minecraft isnu2019t free because it was made by one guy who wanted to make it. When people were like u201cHey, this is fun!u201d, he started selling it. Back in its early Alpha/Beta days you could buy the game with the promise that youu2019d pay a low price and get all upgrades to the game forever included in that price. And that was a good enough deal for this fun and very different game that enough people bought it. So Minecraft became a sustaining product and eventually got successful enough to propel Notch into the super wealthy category.

Now that Microsoft owns it, they probably could switch to some Free-to-play model. But they donu2019t need to. You do free-to-play because you need to entice people to play your game rather than anything else they could be playing. But Minecraft doensu2019t have any real competition, even over a decade after it came out.

Minecraft is the genre. There have been endless clones and minecraft-like games made. Some of them are quite good, and arguably better at Minecraft in various ways. But none of them have gotten anywhere near Minecraftu2019s level of success.

And when you are the game in a genre, you donu2019t need to entice people to play. They will flock to you so that they can take part in this thing that everyone talks about and shows up everywhere.

tldr: Minecraft is not Free to play because it does not need to be free to entice people to play and spend money on it.

 

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