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 (opens in new tab).
  • 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) ($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 (opens in new tab) ($20 at Amazon)

Who doesn't want a Lego Ender Dragon?

Minecraft for Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab) ($30 at Amazon)

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

Minecraft shades (opens in new tab) ($8 at Amazon)

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

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.

44 Comments
  • Wait, MS are announcing sales numbers?
    I guess sales numbers are useless unless they make MS or a MS product look good. :)
  • IS that why Apple stop saying their iPhone sales numbers?
  • @VHMP01
    Maybe, but honestly I don't care enough about Apple and iphones to know that information...
  • Everyone does this, not just Microsoft lol
  • @real
    You should look at financial reports by Sony. They communicate on loss or profit. They communicate on the number of PSNow and PS+ subscribers.
  • You are saying... MS doesn't do financial reports (or they lie about the numbers)? And Sony announces how many copies they sell per game annually?
  • No I'm saying MS doesn't communicate on profit/loss of the XB division. They never communicate on the number of game pass and gold members. They stopped communicating on number of consoles sold soon after the launch of the XB1.
  • They definitely talk about profit and loss. They definitely talk about Xbox users. Phil Spencer has also revealed Xbox Game Pass subscriber counts in the past.
  • Do you even understand how the corporate world works?
  • He doesn’t get it. Microsoft will release whatever they want. Whatever makes them look good.
  • Well yes. I think so. And you know what? I think I also understand how company fans work. These people will tend to defend and do damage control work for the company they worship no matter how hypocrite these companies are. The classic whataboutism as an argument to defend any practice is so common.
  • Just like you and your sony/playststion worship.
  • Worship Sony/PS? I just criticised MS's communication. Are you that upset/hurt that I criticise a company?
    But what you're doing is another classic. Instead of discussing on the topic and keeping it gaming, you decide to discredit the person who criticise by making it personal with baseless accusation.
  • Why don't you try using a valid argument next time. Any time ANYONE disagrees with you, it's instantly that they are a MS fanboy and you're correct no matter