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Minecraft grosses over $250 million in 2012, but which platform dominated?

By on January 14, 2013

Mojang has just released stats for its unit sales of Minecraft in 2012. The post shows Minecraft sales on PC/Mac, on XBLA and of the Pocket Edition, available on iOS and Android.

The chart above shows sales during the Christmas week, with a massive spike on Christmas Day, particularly on mobile/tablet as all those consumers opened their new devices and sought out high-quality games on it.

Mojang also provided the unit sales for the Christmas week and also for the whole of 2012. So I decided to have a look at how the platforms fared compared to each other. The current price of Minecraft on PC/Mac  is $26.95, on Xbox Live is 1,600 points ($19.99) and $6.99 on iOS/Android. My initial expectation was that mobile would outsell the other platforms by volume, but by revenue, it would not fare so well. I expected PC/Mac to have more revenue than Xbox, which in turn would have more revenue than the Pocket Edition. I initially focused on Christmas Day to avoid the issues of price discounts during the year (I have no idea if Minecraft has been discounted), which may skew the data in favour of mobile due to the Christmas downloading binge.

The scores are in


The initial analysis looks good. Sixty-two per cent of downloads by volume came from mobile/tablet. Turning to value, how does the picture change?

When analysed by value, the picture changes. Christmas Day Minecraft sales came to $5.2 million, with a pretty even split between all three platforms. Mobile/tablet and the Xbox are tied neck and neck at 34 per cent, just ahead of PC/Mac at 32%.

For one final analysis, I looked at the “net revenue” after platform fees. I’ve assumed that Mojang is paying 30% for the Pocket Edition and the same to Microsoft, although it is entirely possible that Microsoft offered a sweeter deal to get the game exclusively on the Xbox. I assumed a cost of 5% for direct sales of PC/Mac products to cover the costs of credit card processing and hosting. If anyone thinks these assumptions are misguided, let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post.

These numbers flatter the position of the direct sales of PC/Mac products, which now emerges as the clear winner, with the other two platforms neck-and neck.

How about for the full year?

Taking the data up to the full year involves more assumptions, particularly about pricing. So I have assumed that there were no sales or price promotions on Minecraft during 2012. Again, let me know if you know otherwise. On that basis, Minecraft sold nearly 15.1 million units in 2012. It also shows that the Christmas binge was a very big deal for mobile/smartphone SKUs.


It grossed $253m in revenues in 2012, of which mobile was only 16%.


After platform fees, the estimated net revenue was $211 million, but this is where the open platforms of PC & Mac come into their own, representing more than half of Mojang’s revenue in 2012. Mobile/tablet was only 14% of revenue.


I’m not sure what I am concluding from this analysis. On Christmas Day, the platforms had an equal share of revenue. Over the full year, and after the platform holder’s take, Mojang made most of its revenue from the direct distribution platforms of PC and Mac, while mobile/tablet came in with large volume but low revenue share. The accessibility of those platforms means that Minecraft can reach a wider, new audience, but it still makes in money where it started.

This post has made a number of assumptions, all of which might be erroroneous. It also hasn’t lead to a definitive conclusion. But I found the data interesting and hope you will too.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: