Minecraft is a sandbox independent video game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson and later developed and published by the Swedish company Mojang since 2009. The creative and building aspects of Minecraft allow players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, gathering resources, crafting, and combat. Multiple gameplay modes are available, including survival modes where the player must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, a creative mode where players have unlimited resources to build and the ability to fly, and an adventure mode where players play custom maps created by other players.
The alpha version was publicly released for PC on May 17, 2009, and after gradual updates, the full version was released on November 18, 2011. A version for Android was released a month earlier on October 7, and an iOS version was released on November 17, 2011. The game was released on the Xbox 360 as an Xbox Live Arcade game on May 9, 2012, on the PlayStation 3 on December 17, 2013, on the PlayStation 4 on September 4, 2014, on the Xbox One the next day, and on the PlayStation Vitaon October 14, 2014. All versions of Minecraft receive periodic updates, with the console editions being co-developed by 4J Studios.
Minecraft received five awards during the 2011 Game Developers Conference. Of the Game Developers Choice Awards, it won the Innovation Award, Best Downloadable Game Award, and Best Debut Game Award; from the Independent Games Festival, it won the Audience Award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. In 2012, Minecraft was awarded a Golden Joystick Award in the category Best Downloadable Game.
As of October 10, 2014, over 12 million copies of the game on the Xbox 360 and 17 million copies on PC have been sold; nearly 54 million copies have been sold across all platforms, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time.
On September 15, 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, granting the company ownership of the game's intellectual property. The all-cash deal was worth $2.5 billion and the deal was completed on November 6, 2014.