Minecraft is a sandbox video game created by Swedish game developer Markus Persson and released by Mojang in 2011. The game allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world, requiring creativity from players. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Multiple game modes that change gameplay are available, including—but not limited to—a survival mode, in which players must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, and a creative mode, where players have unlimited resources to build with. The Java Edition of the game allows players to modify the game with mods to create new gameplay mechanics, items, textures and assets. In September 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang and the Minecraft intellectual property for US$2.5 billion, with the acquisition completed two months later.
Minecraft received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, and has been described as one of the most influential and greatest video games in history. Social media, parodies, adaptations, merchandise, and the MineCon convention played large roles in popularizing the game. It has also been used in educational environments, especially in the realm of computing systems, as virtual computers and hardware devices have been built in it. By mid-2018, the game had around 91 million active players monthly. It is also the best-selling video game of all time, selling over 176 million copies across all platforms as of May 2019. A number of spin-off games have also been developed, such as Minecraft: Story Mode, Minecraft Earth, and Minecraft Dungeons.