Some may call Minecraft the most beloved video game of all time—others, however, may not. But is the sudden change in attitude towards the game really justified?
Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time, has been adored religiously by many fans of all ages all around the world, at least up until recently. As of late, discourse has been building up online about how dedicated the team behind the craft is to the game, but as of late, the Minecraft’s community’s dissatisfaction with the game may be a result of changing times.
Routinely, Minecraft is subject to development updates to keep the game running smoothly and to stay on top of the charts. In the past, these updates have been met with excitement and praise, from Minecraft’s 1.13 aquatic update to their 1.18 cave update, which had fans eager to revisit a nostalgic game with new features.
However, Mojang, Minecraft’s development team, is under scrutiny for the recent quality of their work. While fans may hold a company up to their standards, they shouldn’t be so quick to criticize the development team for their dissatisfaction. Fans had already begun complaining about the pointless nature of the “Mob Vote,” a formerly fun tradition that Mojang held for fans to decide what new animal or creature they wanted to be added next into the game.
The Mob Vote itself has had a rocky history, from previously being held on the social media platform X, (formerly called Twitter) which led to the vote being rigged by famous Minecraft creators and their fans. In this method, Mojang had failed to account for the number of users voting who did not own the game, as well as another problem where young children who did play could not participate because of X’s age policy. As a result, Mojang did their best to remedy this by moving the voting site over to the game itself, now requiring players to have a registered Mojang and Microsoft account to participate in the vote.
This year, the annual tradition continued. Introductions were held for each mob as usual, showcasing the Crab, the Armadillo, and the Penguin, all as possible animals to be added to the game. Following the trend from previous years, users debated endlessly over which mob was the most apparent choice addition to the game, with video essays, threads, and fanart being made by players to promote their own biases. But this time around as the noise faded into the endless abyss of X, a new option was slowly surfacing.
Eventually, the mob vote debate gradually evolved from an innocent conversation about mob abilities to the very competency of Mojang itself. Many fans of the game recall their earlier issues with hosting mob votes, citing their past failures such as the rigged mob votes that took place on X. Further complaints include the “exiling” of the losing mobs, the creatures that are never seen or talked about again by the team after they lose the mob vote. Generally, the community is torn between a mix of opinions, including disliking the mob vote, Mojang, both, or neither.
The sentiment against the Mob Vote stems from the united idea that Mojang is not doing enough to live up to the fan’s expectations of the game. They have complained about not enough updates, updates that are too boring, and updates just not making the cut. Whatever the arbitrary benchmark fans have for the game, Mojang is not reaching it. But should they be?
At the end of the day, Minecraft is still a video game that has always been targeted at children. While there is credit to be given to the young adults that first popularized the game on YouTube in 2012 and again in its resurgence in 2019, it is clear that Minecraft has plans to keep its target demographic towards younger children,, considering its other decisions in the past. As players grow up and start demanding more complex updates with new dimensions and features, in addition to dismissing current updates, it is clear that there is a disconnect between the Minecraft community and Mojang as a company.
Though Mojang has always prioritized the voice of the community in its development of the game, many fans forget that they are not the ones calling the shots. Interestingly enough, the groups who are on Mojang’s side of this debate are those who have had experience with software development and coding, stating that not everything is as simple as it seems. What may appear as a funny little critter in the game likely had to go through months of designing, testing, workshop, greenlights, and consumer testing on a corporate scale not commonly revealed to players, who claim coding experience. No matter how much a community can devote itself to a company, it is rare that the two sides are on the same page about everything. For a game that many fans claim can never grow old, its fans can certainly grow up.