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Minecraft Goes Gold; is a Real, Finished Game

Minecraft creator and Mojang studio head Markus "Notch" Persson said via Twitter that the popular indie sandbox title Minecraft has finally gone gold. The news arrives just four days after the team's previously projected "gone gold" date of November 11, 2011, and three days before the game is officially released at the inaugural (and sold out) MineCon 2011 event in Las Vegas on Friday.

Minecraft was originally launched as an alpha on May 17, 2009 and then slipped into beta mode on December 20, 2010. In 2011, Mojang launched the "Pocket Edition" exclusively on Sony Ericsson's Xperia PLAY Android smartphone during E3 2011, and then opened up to portable edition to the rest of the Android market as of October 8.

A version for the Xbox 360 with Kinect will reportedly be playable this Friday during the convention although it's not slated to hit Xbox LIVE until next year.

As seen here, the first-ever Minecraft convention will take place on Friday and Saturday. Persson will kick things off with his keynote and the official launch of Minecraft, and will be followed by various panels including "Minecraft as a Tool for Education," "Running A Server," "YouTube 101" and more. Attendees will supposedly receive a code that will unlock an alpha version of the studio's next game, Scrolls.

According to Mojang, over 1 million units had been sold as of January, but that number quickly skyrocketed to over 4 million units at the beginning on November -- a stunning 3 million units sold within ten months. Over 16 million gamers have created Minecraft accounts, 12 million of which are seemingly playing the "classic" free versions (single player / multi-player). The full version will supposedly sell for $28.95 when it's officially released on Friday, but fans can still purchase the sandbox game for its "beta" price of $21.95 until then.