How Gamers Become Political in Minecraft

This Microsoft game promotes team building and a variety of functional systems, according to a survey.

Playing Minecraft


Those who play “Minecraft” develop leadership skills and can lead communities politically. This is the result of a recent survey by scientists from the University of California, Davis. For their study, the researchers focused on the multiplayer video game Minecraft for five years. Different types of blocks are placed in a three-dimensional environment.

Intensive research

The scientists developed a program that allowed them to collect data from Minecraft communities worldwide. The team scanned the internet every two hours for two years and analyzed communities to learn how they are managed, who visits them, and how regularly visitors return. A total of 150,000 communities were illuminated before the focus was placed on a subset of 1,800.

Result: Successful Minecraft servers like the ones you can find on Minecraft Menu are not run by a government or political professionals. Rather, they are young amateur players who want to take control of their own community. For them, it is a challenge to choose a system of government that attracts and supports like-minded people with a shared vision.

Diversity in systems

Administrators can, after some time, install software that includes components of a government, including property rights, peer monitoring, a social hierarchy, and commerce. “Based on a selection of sets of rules, the players put together very variable and individualistic forms of government,” says study leader Seth Frey. What is particularly surprising is the variety of systems that turn out to be functional.

Given the difficulties of building a successful online community, especially in an anonymous game like Minecraft, experts say it’s likely that the leadership skills that successful players develop can be translated into real domains. The proof of this transfer of leadership skills to real environments is a goal of futurology.


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