I think it depends, for some people it is, for others not so. When new console edition exist, people buy them, new fans are made, the Java edition player might give up, and I myself have a few times but have found a few mods to just keep me going but only about 20% of the time and other than that Minecraft is the one game I play on my PC really since I usually use a console or handheld instead of using Steam since physical games work for me and all that jazz. I think the community in the console era are thriving, the hype train or mainstream trend followers are or aren't still around, because that's what they do, they jump to trends. The really Minecraft fans are probably feeling the game's lack of appeal anymore and I get that, I haven't played the game more than 4 years and am feeling it, but 5+ and I feel those players have experienced more than I ever could even when going back to versions prior to my 1.4.5 start and experiencing 1.2.5 myself in modpacks or watching versions before that I can't experience. But things like 1.12.2 are a bit eh, but 1.13 Rift mods have gotten me to think only a bit differently but not much since its not that much from 'people use forge', '1.13 mods that are new or vanilla feel' its not much when you think about it. I feel like the hype train has gone but the game is under Tetris for being on many platforms and the most popular game but also for being on every current/last gen platform it has reached oversaturation and lost its appeal, I'd agree with that logic also, but the game has a large community that is still active technically, ideas, crash reports, mod support, people still finding others to play with them, it still happens on this forum or on other social platforms or co-op online or split-screen with friends and family. It still happens. Would I say the game's appeal is reaching its end, yes and no, depends on the player and how much exposure they have had with the game honestly. Are mods appealing if you have played many RPG, adventure, mob, ore, technology, redstone, armour sets, guns, game based on biomes, quality of life, recipe viewers/cheating, mini map and otherwise mods. I'm experienced a few and not all, but I've played the Aether, Divine RPG, Industrial Craft 2, more niche mods for 1.7.10 up to 1.12.2 and made youtube videos about them, I've done bits and pieces here and there to play the mainstream mods, the niche, the inbetween, to look into the game's past and future, its evolution. Is the game dying, no. Is the appeal dying for players who have gotten sick of it. Yes. So stopping calling it 'dying' to make a big deal, an individual is not the end of the game, its the end of the time, patience and appeal of it for that individual, people move on. Oversaturation can work for say Call of Duty, but some people do move on from some communities in MMORPGs or other things not game related, how is it any different. Its not dying, its just people have moved on, any people that follow trends will do so, any that care will stick around, any that have stuck around either make mods to get what they want out of the game, or they move on like the rest. The game is available to so many people its not financially dead, its community appeal or game appeal lacking for those people. Dying is a big uproar excuse to make people listen because they moved on or go bored with its appeal. Its utter to me honestly. And these threads about this topic are getting annoying, oversaturated and aren't dying??? Sigh. Think what you want, but I'm assuming people have said what I've said or differently enough times now. Its doing fine, its just the individuals or the community big guys/girls have moved on because its appeal is lacking or samey, yes the same mobs, the same more blocks to the world, the ideas aren't appealing anymore, the biome are what they are, the adventures or gameplay feels the same, whatever the case, I am feeling that at least, so I play the game less and less, but its just lacking appeal because we know enough about the ins and outs of the game or friends moved on from the game or whatever the case is for each person. That's about how it seems to me anyways.
Interestingly, this well exceeds the increase in sales, 10 million, so existing players must be playing more than before (another possibility is that they include the Chinese edition, which is free, in the player count; with 100 million registered users in less than a year this has likely contributed significantly to the active playerbase, and having nearly 60% of all paid users (plus many have bought multiple copies) still playing after as long as 9 years seems rather unlikely):
The really small communities of close friends seem to work out well, at least it has for me. I also have acquaintances that, should I have to give up running the Bedrock Realms and Java servers for Copper FerretCraft, I'll be able to join a group of more like-minded older people than the communities I've been in. It really helps to find the cool people in forums like this that want more the same game you do out of Minecraft, and then join them. Doing so will keep the Minecraft franchise as a whole going strong, regardless of how many people say, "I'm bored with Minecraft, I'm playing X game now, so Minecraft is dead."
the fact of the matter is a "small community of close friends" does not count as a community created by the circumstances of mc. the majority of servers in this game are unplayable for non-local reasons and anyone who has tried the multiplayer would know. of course if you play with your friends it will be a different experience from playing with 40 randoms.
I play with friends because of course it was a different experience from playing with 40 randoms and I didn't care for that experience. Many of the friends in Minecraft I have are a few of the 40 randoms that I had played with before I got tired of server mismanagement and started running my own server.
But it's like the joke about not wanting to eat dinner at a particular restaurant in town: "Nobody goes there because it's always packed."
I think it depends... With all the people I originally played with back in 2010-12 it's all but dead... but with my brother's friends (aged 10-12) it's never been more alive same with the dads around here (35-40). but with the 16-25 year olds where I live it is considered old and boring. I see the future of MC (at least in my area of the US) going in cycles... with my "Minecraft generation" it's dead and I see that how it will be. Like others have said MC will be like legos… which is something people my age have forgotten about (but then once they become parents they remember them and show their kids.) so all that to say I think with the young adult and teenagers it's gone and dead but overall it's still alive. The hype around MC is gone in pop culture yes... but do I think it's still played as much now as it was then? 100% yes.
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Without reading through almost two years' worth of posts, here's my take on this.
I can take my ZX Spectrum (or any one of the five I've got), connect a scabby old tape deck (if it's one where I need to), load the excellent text adventure of The Hobbit from 1982, and shout at Thorin as he sits down and starts singing about gold yet again. Or, I can load any one of the 200 or so games I have, unless the tape's been chewed to bits (an occupational hazard in days of yore) or the recording's dropped out. One of these tapes is a brand new (well, almost) game - Egghead Goes To Town, released in 2017 - and it's not as if 2018 hasn't also had its share of home-brew games. Commodore 64 owners, Amstrad CPC owners, and those of the Dragon 32, Oric, Atari 8-bits, the various MSX machines, or the posh kids with a BBC Micro - everyone can still load all the old games provided the tape, disc or cartridge hasn't been corrupted in some way. Likewise, I have a PS1 and a PS2, neither of which work, and a handful of PS1 games. If I was to obtain a working PS1, I could play them all as if it was the day of their release - unless, that is, the disc was scratched. I have an N64, and that does work - so I might plug in Carmageddon 64 and have a thrash on that, if only it wasn't such a dire conversion of the original. Oh well... there's always Ocarina Of Time, that'll keep me occupied for a while, if I don't throw the controller through the TV during the Water Temple. Even this is a 20-year-old game now and it's still working; for those with a Magnavox Odyssey 2 or an early Apple II, games twice that age are still playable, if you can get past their extreme simplicity.
I have heard distressing reports about the later consoles, i.e. the most recent two generations that rely on a working broadband internet connection and an internal hard drive, and how many of the games require an account on an active server in order to be played. Once that server switches off, what you have in your hand isn't a Blu-Ray disc with a game on it, it's nothing more than a beer coaster that you've paid the best part of £50 for - and neither is there any second-hand market. It's worthless junk. It's even worse where I've heard examples of games that were never finished and the disc itself is all but useless; play it for the first time and you'll have to download a multi-gigabyte "patch" which is actually the game itself. If the hard disc or the whole console bricks itself, the game dies with it. (I think it was one of the later Tony Hawk skateboarding games I heard this about; what a dreadful oversight.) All my PS1 games I picked up at a flea market for a fiver each at most, and if any of them get damaged, I won't be too bothered. But if I'd forked out a bullseye for a game with an expiry date some time in the future, where that date wasn't fixed, we just knew that one day it would come - I'd be angry at being short-changed if I hadn't had every last drop of entertainment possible out of it, and even if I had, it'd still be annoying knowing that one day, I might want to go back to it, and couldn't. That, in my book, is a game that's "dead" - it's literally impossible for anyone to play it - and so I suppose one that's "dying" has a known expiry date.
Minecraft seems to exist in the uncanny valley between the Spectrum games I'll be able to play until the tapes clap out (and the Sinclair community has gone to great lengths to ensure the near-immortality of its hardware and software) and a PS3/4 game with a so-far-unknown expiry date. As far as I can see, the only reasons why I need an internet connection for Minecraft are to download updates, and to display the custom skin properly. I can play offline if I want, it'll just be with Alex (who took over from Steve by default when she first appeared) instead of my favoured Piston Mechanic - everything else works just fine, so that removes one reason. As for the other: let's say, for the sake of argument, the last ever Minecraft Java update is announced for the end of 2020. (Obviously I'm hoping it won't be, as is everyone else.) What is to stop me still playing Minecraft in, say, 2030, if the PC I have now is still working, or if I've got an equivalent late-2010s-spec PC with Windows 7 installed on it and an appropriately-aged Java? As long as it still works beyond its final update, all I can see then that will make it "die" is that I'll get bored when I've finally run out of things to do. And, of course, someone will say there are mods out there - I've never managed to make even the simplest mod work, but it's not as if I tried very hard on that because I didn't have to, I soon realised I was quite happy playing without. And the mods won't go away - after all, there are still people writing WADs for the Doom series, now 25 years old and which were all considered obsolete when Quake was released in 1997.
As long as it is still possible to run Java Minecraft on a frozen-in-time PC, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't continue as a niche community amongst enthusiasts, the way that the 1980s micros still live on 30 years past the end of their commercial lifespan.
I can play offline if I want, it'll just be with Alex (who took over from Steve by default when she first appeared) instead of my favoured Piston Mechanic - everything else works just fine, so that removes one reason.
You can still use a custom skin if you use a resource pack (although in 1.8 and later you can't change the default model chosen for your UUID unless you mod the game); in fact, I have to do just that in order to use a custom skin in 1.6.4 because they nuked the skin server it used (which I never actually noticed until somebody else mentioned it since I'd long ago replaced the default skin with my own so server outages wouldn't affect it):
(I've actually exploited this by replacing the default skin with my own skin in the download for TMCW, with a basic resource pack added to make it easier to change; in an upcoming update I've also changed the player head (block/item) to use my skin, using a separate texture from the default player skin)
Not only that, the current launcher does not properly download sounds for older versions, though if you already had them downloaded they will still work (a comment indicates that this will be fixed but I don't know it it has been fixed yet; the given fix of using the Java-based launcher to download assets also no longer works because they took it down; even before then versions prior to 1.6 had no way to download sounds at all since they shut down the server they directly downloaded them from, rather than relying on the launcher):
As far as launching the game itself goes, Mojang doesn't seem to mind that Mod Coder Pack lets you play singleplayer without logging in with no restrictions, presumably since you still need the launcher to download everything it needs to run, which is copied over when you decompile for the first time, after which it is entirely independent, so even if you could no longer log in you could still play this way (the game itself doesn't care whether you are logged in; in fact, until recently the launcher did not pass a valid session ID to versions before 1.7.2, and I never noticed anything different, except that the "Realms" button disappeared, not that it would work for anything less than the latest version)
What is to stop me still playing Minecraft in, say, 2030, if the PC I have now is still working, or if I've got an equivalent late-2010s-spec PC with Windows 7 installed on it and an appropriately-aged Java?
Minecraft does not depend on a specific OS or Java version to run; I moved from Windows 7 to Windows 10 with no problems, and Java is likewise backwards-compatible so you only need at least some minimum version, Java 6 for 1.6.4 (there have been issues with mods on later Java versions but that is due to buggy code that depended on bugs in Java itself, such as Forge for 1.6.4 crashing on Java 8, but there is no issue with vanilla itself, or my own mods, which are based on Java 6 code since that is what MCP tells the JDK to compile to, and while you can tell it to use a later version I've never had a situation where I needed to use Java 7+ code).