Minecraft is so big even its mods get more downloads than most AAA games

Screenshot of The Betweenlands mod for Minecraft.
(Image credit: Angry Pixel | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • The Betweenlands is a hugely popular Minecraft: Java Edition mod released back in 2016.
  • On Monday, the team behind the mod announced that The Betweenlands has passed over 20 million downloads.
  • This is a huge milestone that surpasses even major AAA game launches, with the mod continuing to grow in size.
  • The Betweenlands is still gaining new features over time, and was last updated in Jan. 2023.

It is an objective fact that Minecraft, from Mojang Studios and Xbox Game Studios, is one of the largest and most successful games of all time. It has sold literally hundreds of millions of copies across platforms, and enjoys a vibrant, bustling community of passionate players who continue to create new experiences within it. On Monday, one such mod for Minecraft announced a major milestone.

The Betweenlands is a mod for Minecraft: Java Edition, which adds an all-new dimension to the game filled with new mobs, biomes, blocks and items, mechanics and events, and so much more than can fit in a single paragraph. It was conceptualized in 2012 and eventually released in 2016, and has since amassed a huge following of players. Now, The Betweenlands has officially surpassed 20 million downloads.

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Minecraft is certainly one of the best PC games entirely by itself, but its community creators that elevate it to a new level. The Betweenlands is an impossibly large and ambitious mod for Minecraft's legacy Windows PC version, and it has been rewarded with immense success. With over 20 million downloads under its belt, it's not unreasonable to suggest that The Betweenlands is bigger than some AAA game releases. Minecraft itself had sold over 238 million copies as of April 2021, but that number has almost certainly grown since then.

Surely, with so many downloads, The Betweenlands must be the largest Minecraft mod of all time, right? Well... No! On the Curse Forge website, there are literally dozens of Minecraft mods that have amassed plenty more downloads than the Betweenlands, with the largest (Just Enough Items) boasting nearly 220 million downloads on its own. In the grand scheme of things, The Betweenlands doesn't even make the list. Of course, few of these mods are as large as The Betweenlands, but it still highlights just how vast Minecraft's modding scene is.

MrCompost, a co-founder of the Angry Pixel modding team and the creator of The Betweenlands, shared a heartfelt message on Twitter expressing their thanks to the community for their ongoing support. The Betweenlands may be nearing seven years old at this point, but it still enjoys a fair amount of play and is being continually updated. Its latest update was released on Jan. 23, 2023, and that likely won't be its last.

If you're interested in trying The Betweenlands for yourself, it's easy and free. You can find The Betweenlands mod on Curse Forge, and you can follow Windows Central's in-depth Minecraft: Java Edition modding guide for a step-by-step tutorial on how to play with mods in Minecraft. The Betweenlands is large enough to almost be an entirely separate game, so expect to lose a lot more hours to Minecraft if you choose to download.

Windows Central's take

Congrats to The Betweenlands for over 20 million downloads, a noteworthy accomplishment for any mod or game. The Minecraft modding community is still extremely active in 2023, with new mods arriving all the time. When vanilla Minecraft becomes a bit too stale for your tastes, mods open up infinite possibilities. With mods, you can basically turn Minecraft into whatever kind of game you want.

The Betweenlands looks to be a very impressive mod, even considering its age. It's incredible that 20 million downloads is actually considered "modest" for a Minecraft: Java Edition mod, but that's the reality of the situation. Of course, "downloads" is not the same as "players," but the fact still remains — Minecraft is incomprehensibly large.

Minecraft: Java & Bedrock Edition

Minecraft: Java & Bedrock Edition

If you want to play Minecraft on PC, there's no better way to do so than with this bundle, which includes both the mod-able, legacy Java Edition and the modern, cross-platform Bedrock Edition.

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Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.