Don’t Look Now But ‘Minecraft’ Is Reclaiming Its Crown From ‘Fortnite’
Minecraft vs. Fortnite
While Fortnite is still the biggest game in the world at the moment, it’s easy to forget that one of the biggest games of all time never really went anywhere, Minecraft. And in recent months, it’s looking to reclaim its popularity crown from Fortnite.
Interest in Fortnite is waning. Not disastrously, but noticeably, particularly by me as someone who has written roughly 300 Fortnite articles and guides over the past year. Things that used to do a million views might do 100,000 now. Things that used to do 100,000 now might do five.
It’s not a huge shock, as no game can sustain a sky high level of popularity indefinitely and Fortnite has already done that for at least a year. But what’s surprising is not just that Fortnite is starting to taper off a bit, but that Minecraft is starting to surge.
That chart above shows Google search interest for Minecraft and Fortnite over time. We can see the huge spikes with the game first debuted, but at the end there? The two are dead even, with Minecraft even inching ahead a bit with the last few months seeing a boost in interest for the game.
Mojang’s Aubrey Norris reports that Minecraft YouTube viewership is actually up year over year:
Why is this happening? I…am not quite sure. Granted, I’m not super plugged into the Minecraft scene, but there haven’t been any absolutely massive changes to the game as of late so far as I can tell. There are, however, two new big titles coming up soon, Minecraft Earth, Microsoft’s AR play which has players building permanent Minecraft structures in the real (“real”) world through AR, and Minecraft Dungeons, which debuted at E3 and looks to be Diablo-lite in Minecraft form, both promising titles.
It’s possible that interest in those games has spiked Minecraft more generally, or perhaps people have just come home to a game they’ve always enjoyed, and has low key been extremely popular this entire time, even with declines from its peaks.
Minecraft recently held its ten year anniversary, and the news story attached to that was that the plans for that would exclude its creator, Marcus “Notch” Persson, who sold Minecraft to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion, due to controversial comments he’s made on Twitter ranging from “heterosexual pride day,” and “it’s ok to be white” to transphobic statements and the apparent embracing of QAnon conspiracy theories.
Minecraft, meanwhile, is undergoing a renaissance that is only likely to continue with the release of Minecraft Earth and Dungeons soon enough. Fortnite would love Minecraft’s long term staying power, but it may find itself slipping to second place soon enough if it doesn’t figure out how to retain more players.
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