The release stage of Minecraft's development started on November 18, 2011, and has continued until the present day. At this point of development, the game was considered "complete", both having an "ending" and being ready for ratings and reviews. The game's price also increased from what it was in Beta, but users who previously bought the game were not charged extra.
The Beta development phase started on December 20, 2010 and ended on November 18, 2011. The main goals of this development stage were a larger focus on polishing gameplay, additional content, and stability. The game's price also increased from what it was in Alpha, but users who previously bought the game were not charged extra.
The Alpha development phase started on June 29, 2010 and ended on December 20th, 2010. This version also limited the gamemode to Survival, but saw a re-release of multiplayer. At this time, Notch began developing the game full time, causing much more frequent updates. These were also the first versions which had to be purchased, though the price increased in later stages.
The Infdev development phase started on February 27, 2010 and ended on June 28, 2010. During this stage, Minecraft was only available in single-player Survival mode and versions were unnumbered under the name Minecraft Indev. At this point, Notch rewrote the game code to allow mostly "infinite" terrain.
The Indev development phase started on December 23, 2009, and ended on February 27, 2010. It was the successor to the previous Survival Test and continued expanding the survival aspects of the game, making it a lot more like the current gameplay. Versions in this stage were either unnumbered or used the same number.
Classic was the first long development phase of the game, in which it was constantly improved and updated over several months. It occurred between May 16 and December 23, 2009. The original game mode was Creative, but on September 1, 2009 development began for Survival mode under the name Survival Test.
Pre-classic was the initial development phase of Minecraft, in which the very basic mechanics and elements of the game were developed, tested and improved over the period of less than a week—from May 10–16, 2009. It was not originally released to the public, but it is now playable via the launcher.
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