At first glance, Minecraft seems like the perfect candidate for competitive esports. Since its release in 2011, this epic sandbox game has sold more than 238 million copies and launched a slew of spin-off titles. Along with an ever-expanding player base, Minecraft continues to be one of the most-viewed games on YouTube and Twitch. However, despite all of its successes, Minecraft has struggled to penetrate the lucrative esports scene.
Minecraft and Esports
Although Minecraft has yet to establish itself as a major player in the world of competitive gaming, there have been several attempts to launch an esports scene around this sandbox title. One of the first efforts was Minecraft Monday, a weekly streaming event that brought together some of the highest-profile Minecraft players on the planet. Despite being incredibly popular, Minecraft Monday fizzled out before it could really catch fire. In late 2019, the game server was hacked, leading to the postponement and eventual cancellation of a proposed second season.
Nonetheless, many of those who participated in Minecraft Monday would make the jump to MC Championship. This epic contest sees ten teams compete in an assortment of mini-games, encompassing a wide variety of Minecraft skills. The charity event Minecraft Ultimate also continues to attract huge audiences.
Minecraft and Professional Esports
Although Minecraft hasn’t managed to become a fully-fledged esports event just yet, its prospects looked a lot rosier only a few years ago. In 2016 when the Badlion Network hosted a significant number of PVP Minecraft tournaments. This was noticed by ESL, with the esports organizer approaching the network with plans of merging Minecraft into the esports mainstream. Sadly, this idea never came to fruition and by 2017, ESL had quietly withdrawn its plans and there’s been no comment on the matter since.
Why Hasn’t Minecraft Become an Esports Event?
Major obstacles are blocking Minecraft from becoming a staple of the esports scene. Many of these issues became apparent during early initiatives like Minecraft Monday. The original PvP combat system used by the sandbox game simply didn’t lend itself well to the fast-paced nature of competitive gaming. Furthermore, the playing community is a fairly mixed bag.
Tournaments like Minecraft Monday tended to attract a variety of rookies and highly-skilled players, making for unbalanced team lineups and predictable outcomes. The nature of the game is also somewhat limiting. While MC Championship makes effective use of Minecraft’s minigames, these challenges are rather basic and aren’t exactly worthy of the world stage.
Does Minecraft realistically have a future as a competitive esports event? The original game was designed as a sandbox experience. With more of a focus on creating rather than competition, Minecraft’s DNA simply isn’t a good fit with esports.
However, the recent announcement of Minecraft Legends, an action strategy version of the game, suggests Mahjong Studios have taken note of the original game’s limitations. Depending on how challenging this successor game proves to be, Minecraft might still one day stand alongside the CSGO and LoL schedule at 1337PRO.