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For many, sifting through the numerous offerings across all the different gaming platforms is like drinking from the firehose, but every so often particular games will suddenly explode in popularity and become instant must-plays.
Popular games can ebb and flow in the limelight, and it’s fascinating to watch how the buzz surrounding them spawn new gaming communities and interesting trends. Have you ever wondered what happens to popular games after they’ve taken the world by storm? Here’s a look at three mega-hits and where they’re at now.
Initially developed by a single individual, Minecraft is easily the biggest runaway indie success story of the last decade. This primitive-looking blocky sandbox survival game captured the hearts of young and old with its fun mix of crafting, building, battling and exploration. Minecraft has gone on to sell well over 122 million copies since it made its debut in 2011, even spawning a thriving fan fiction community and its own dedicated gaming convention.
The original creator is no longer involved in the game’s continued evolution and development, which is now spearheaded by a larger team at Microsoft. Minecraft fervor may have slowed down slightly, but the game continues to be tremendously popular with players of all ages, as new updates bolster activity in the still-growing player community.
Given how long this beloved monster-catching franchise has been around, it’s no surprise that the Pokemon craze hit a new crescendo with the release of Pokemon GO in 2016. Augmented Reality is still a relatively newer tech phenomenon, but the way Pokemon GO bridged the gap between exploring the real world and capturing virtual critters with your smartphone struck an intense chord with the masses.
The game spurred players of all ages to hit the streets, gaining exercise in the process, and searching the real world to uncover activity zones in hopes of nabbing the rarest Pokemon for their digital collection. As such, many real-world businesses turned into hotspots to attract players seeking to find special Pokemon. At the height of the Pokemon GO buzz, it wasn’t uncommon to see crowds of players flocking to local parks and public places in their search, though that’s simmered down a bit. Even so, the game has seen an estimated 752 million downloads, and new generations of Pokemon are being added to the mix even now to entice players to stick with the hunt well into the future.
Interest in online gaming exploded when Blizzard turned its iconic real-time strategy game into a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPG) in 2004. One of the longest-running MMORPGs of its kind, WoW peaked out at 12 million active subscribers in 2010, but it continues to enjoy a dedicated and active players base despite gradually dwindling numbers over the last decade. For many competitors, WoW has the MMORPG to beat, and its popularity has driven lots of other companies to try their hand at the MMO world. Few have found as much success as WoW, however.
Blizzard continues to support the game alongside its other flagship offerings, and recent announcement of a new expansion, Battle for Azeroth, suggests WoW will be sticking around for some time to come before it’s finally laid to rest for good.