Minecraft (likely) becomes the best-selling game of all time on its 10th birthday

What you need to know

  • Minecraft has sold over 176 million copies.
  • You can purchase the game for $20 on the Microsoft Store.
  • Minecraft appears to have surpassed Tetris in terms of sales.

Minecraft is an incredibly popular survival game which focuses on gathering resources, building shelters, and exploring a procedurally-generated world. The title has become a cultural sensation in recent years along the lines of Fortnite. This is mostly due to the fact that it features open-ended gameplay and has received excellent post-launch support over the past decade.

The same version of Minecraft is available across a number of devices like the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, allowing users to play together. In a recent post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft started that the game has sold over 176 million units as of its tenth birthday. The company said the following.

This is an incredibly exciting time for Minecraft. Ten years ago today, the game launched on PC. Now, Minecraft has sold more than 176 million copies to-date in virtually every country in the world. As a way to celebrate ten years for the franchise, we announced today a brand-new Minecraft game… Minecraft Earth.

Minecraft Earth is a Pokémon Go-like experience which allows you to build together in an augmented reality environment. It takes cooperation and communication to another level because you have to work with other players to build complex structures.

Given the fact that Minecraft has sold 176 million units, it might be the best-selling game of all time. Tetris seems to be its closest rival, but it's not an exact comparison because a lot of different versions of Tetris exist with different visuals and features. If you analyze all Tetris purchases — and remove the copious free-to-play versions — it turns out that past iterations have sold 70 million copies. This figure appears to contain partial phone sales because in 2010, EA announced that the mobile version crossed 100 million copies sold. The 70 million figure was reported in 2009.

Around the same time, EA adopted a free-to-play model for Tetris on smartphones. Instead of purchasing the game outright, you have to buy microtransactions which give you coins and the ability to remove advertisements. Even if we combine the 70 million figure with the 100 million figure — though there might be overlap — Tetris sales are still lower than Minecraft sales.

Minecraft Earth at Windows Central

Minecraft seems to be the best-selling game of all time if you take all of these factors into account. Even though estimates suggest that Tetris has been downloaded over 500 million times, the fact that it's fragmented among so many different spin-offs means that a direct comparison between the two games can never be made. A better comparison would be between Grand Theft Auto V which is at roughly 110 million units sold.

Awesome Minecraft merch

Love Minecraft? We're fairly certain you'll love these accessories equally.

Minecraft Sprites Premium T-Shirt ($19 at Amazon)

Show off your Minecraft pride with this premium tee from Jinx, showcasing many of Minecraft's iconic mobs.

Minecraft Lego: The End Battle ($20 at Amazon)

Who doesn't want a Lego Ender Dragon?

Minecraft for Nintendo Switch ($30 at Amazon)

Minecraft for Nintendo Switch features full cross-play between Xbox, Windows 10, mobile phones, and even VR!

Minecraft shades ($8 at Amazon)

You might think you're cool, but are you cool enough to wear these?

Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.