It seems that a lot of video games these days have a “targeted audience,” whether it be adults, teens, or children. But Minecraft pulls off something that a lot of games have trouble doing: mass appeal.
Minecraft is a game that anyone can find some enjoyment out of, whether you play video games casually, or competitively, or if you are a child, teen, or adult. You are able to find at least some enjoyment out of it. A result of this kind of mass appeal is over $500 million in revenue and approximately 200 million sales, making it the best selling game of all time.
But how is a game like Minecraft able to appeal to so many people? The answer to that is the game’s flexibility. There is no singular thing to do in Minecraft, it is a game that has several different possible game modes. Do you want to play an open world survival game? Minecraft has that. Do you want to play a creative sandbox game? Minecraft has that. The possibilities of the game drastically open up when we look at its multiplayer system. Do you want to play a player vs player match against your friends or even a random person? Minecraft has that. Its accessibility also relates to its appeal. The game isn’t very hardware demanding, meaning it can run on almost any computer, even cheap ones. It also is available on your phone and game consoles, making it even more accessible.
Now you might be thinking “why don’t other companies do this? Why do so many companies use targeted audiences?” Well, to put it simply, having a targeted audience makes it easier to make a profit.
It’s simply easier to create a more dedicated fanbase when targeting a type of person, that way it becomes easier to get money out of them whether it be overpricing the game itself or adding tons of downloadable content, such as Battlefront 2’s infamous loot boxes. Another factor in targeted audiences is marketing. Marketing becomes significantly easier when you know what kind of people your audience is. For example, if your marketing at children, you can include flashy colours, happy music, and extremely simple character designs, while if your marketing at hardcore gamers, you can include dark colours, hardcore music, and realistic character designs.
Trying to give a video game mass appeal is a very hard thing to accomplish due to the nature of the human mind. Humans share many different beliefs, opinions, and preferences. In order to make a game that can appeal to as many people as possible, you need to know the small number of things that a large group of people has in common.
Now, is mass appeal the single reason why it is successful? Well, no. The success of any piece of media relies on multiple factors and Minecraft is no exception. Another one of the main reasons it got so popular was luck. Lots of games like Minecraft simply never see the light of day, but fortunately for Minecraft, during the late 2000s to the early 2010s, Minecraft became massively popular on YouTube due to gaming channels playing the game. However even then, multiple games have had massive popularity on YouTube and yet most of them didn’t come close to Minecraft’s success, this is due to them usually being targeted towards more hardcore gamers.
At the end of the day, the only way they could have possibly made the game more successful is if they made it free. If it was free, it might just have become the most popular video game ever. But even with its price-tag, Minecraft will always be cemented in gaming history as one of the most influential and appealing games ever.
Cover image: Pixabay