Minecraft is focused on creativity and building, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. Gameplay in its commercial release has two principal modes: Survival, which requires players to acquire resources themselves and maintain their health and hunger; and Creative, where the player has an unlimited supply of resources, the ability to fly, and no concept of health or hunger. A third gameplay mode, named Hardcore, is essentially the same as Survival, but the difficulty is locked on the hardest setting and respawning is disabled, forcing the player to delete his or her world upon death. An outdated Classic version is also available for free, although it is no longer being developed. Creative Minecraft resembles Classic, but with many more features.
Minecraft was released as an alpha on May 17, 2009, with a beta version on December 20, 2010. Official releases for iOS and Android have been released and the full version of the PC game was released on November 18, 2011 at MineCon 2011. The Android release was temporarily exclusive to the Xperia PLAY but is now available to the rest of the Android Market. A heavily stripped version of the game has been developed for the Xbox 360 by independent game developers 4J Studios, which was released on May 9th, 2012. Minecraft was developed for about a week before its public release on May 17, 2009, on the TIGSource forums, where it gained a considerable level of popularity. It has been continually updated and patched since then, and while it was still in alpha release, it garnered several hundred thousand sales and received critical notice and acclaim from many reviewers. It passed a million units sold on January 12, 2011, less than a month after reaching Beta. By February 18, 2012, the game had sold more than 5 million units.