“It isn’t like other games. There are no instructions, no levels, no mission structure, no story, no lives, no points, no clear goal. The only aim is to survive”
User design and co-creation have emerged as a mechanism to build brand loyalty, to fit products to the heterogeneous needs of a market, and to differentiate the offerings of a manufacturer. More than ever, customers want to make their own choices and demand uniqueness. Minecraft was born in the context of our increasingly individualized and digitalized world.
You start Minecraft in the middle of a randomly generated, “blocky-looking” world about eight times the size of Earth and are completely free to do what you want. You can go exploring, or you can get creative.
Minecraft allows users to create their own environment and build new structures with the building blocks provided by the game designers. At the start of the game, the player is placed on the surface of a procedurally generated and virtually infinite game world. The game world is procedurally generated as players explore it. Minecraft also enables multiple players to interact and communicate with each other on a single world.
The game was created by Markus Persson and was recently sold to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Without any advertisements, Minecraft had 1 million purchases, less than a month after entering its beta phase.
In addition to Minecraft, there are several games that allow users to generate content. For instance, Sim City lets players build up their own city within the game constraints. The novelty of Minecraft is that it offers infinite creativity and control!
Like in mass customization, in Minecraft users are active co creators and are the beneficiaries of their creations. However as some of the best Minecraft creations can be shared, they might benefit others (game developers, architects etc.) But why do customers benefit from playing Minecraft? Firstly because it’s fun, second because it enables users to create experiences that are tailored to their needs and finally, because it may fulfill their social needs, in particular when publicly showing their creations.
Check out some of the best creations: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29211032
“It offers infinite creativity and control”
By giving so much freedom, is Minecraft able to maximize users’ satisfaction? Given that Minecraft players may not fully understand their needs or may have different levels of skills, the game bears the risk of a “design defect”: a choice of design parameters that does not maximize user satisfaction (Randall, T., Terwiesch, C., & Ulrich, K.T. (2005). This design defect concept reflects a misfit between the game designed and the one that might have been designed, despite the fact that the user is in control of all of the design decisions. Minecraft mitigates this risk by including some default options that enhance customer satisfaction. For instance, gameplay by default is in first person, but players have the option to play in third person mode.
Randall, T., Terwiesch, C., & Ulrich, K.T. (2005). Principles for user design of customized products. California Management Review, 47(4), 68.