Good news, Microsoft! Minecraft is still popular. And that means its big minigame servers are still popular, too. Places like Mineplex, Hypixel and GuildCraft, where rather than the standard survival or creative Minecraft, you play heavily modded multiplayer games. To many Minecraft players, the servers and the games they play on them, from Survival Games to SkyBlock, are Minecraft. Mineplex, at the time I’m writing this on a Friday lunchtime in the UK, has 12,022 players online. That would put it among the top 20 games being played on Steam. Hypixel has 16,449 players online right now.
They’re huge, and Duncan wrote a great intro to the server scene last year, but despite their size, I didn’t really know how they work or what makes them tick. So I chatted to a couple of their creators to find out, and I encountered a surprising world that’s undergoing big change, facing big challenges, and holding big potential.