As 2015 became 2016 and the world was reset for another cycle, our human brains unable to realise that we have lived this year one thousand times already and the time loop continued, Minecraft and developers Mojang hit their own milestone. The world’s most popular cube-based penis-constructor passed the 22 million sales mark. According to all the sources we have available that probably makes it the best selling PC game of all time.
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There was no announcement of the new record, only the endless ticking of the official site’s innocuous stats page. That figure, sitting at22,060,810 at time of writing, indicates only paid-for copies of the PC, Mac and Linux version of the game – not the Xbox, Playstation or any other version. If you’re a lover of money numbers, a bit of napkin math reveals that equals £395,991,539.50. Don’t forget the 50p, it’s important. While the real total will be less than that, as the game will have been given away for free, sold for lower than its current price and a bunch of other factors over the years, it’s still a staggering figure.
How does it match up to its peers? Well, that’s a little hard to tell. The two main sources you might use are Wikipedia, which clearly hasn’t been updated in some time and lacks sources, and SteamSpy, which is inaccurate and only tracks games on Steam. Both would put Minecraft above their highest selling games, though obviously it still flags far behind in actual player numbers when you account for F2P games.
We don’t have figures for how many copies of Team Fortress 2 sold before it went F2P, so that’s out. The nearest rival seems to be CS:GO and its 18 million-or-so. Other Valve games that have been as low as pennies in sales, like CS:Source and L4D2, follow on. Meanwhile WoW’s actual sales figures have never been announced, we just know it’s somewhere between the highest concurrent subscriber count of 12 million and the 100 million accounts that had been created in early 2014.
We have no idea how well some of EA’s non-Steam games have done, like the various Battlefields, though I doubt any of them rival these numbers. So, Minecraft has the largest sales figure of PC games, but probably hasn’t made the most money, nor does it have the most players. Would this still be true if you had to pay to play the Dota 2s and LoLs of the world?