With books and videos, people are passive consumers of content.
With videogames, players are active consumers of content, in that they need to be engaged in order to consume the content.
The demand on creativity and imagination in videogames is usually at least in overcoming the obstacles/challenges of the game. With games like Minecraft, there's also a more tangible intermediate result in terms of building blocks.
Though, mobile games might tend to be more "cow clicker" ish, and mainstream games can be linear sequences where the game makes it hard to fail.. there's less demand for creativity there.
(Note, Minecraft Classic ≠ "Minecraft Java" or whatever they're calling the primary pre-Microsoft PC version now)
It kind of is. Survival was added Java Edition Classic, then was spun out into its own version with Java Edition Indev. The modern Java version is a descendant of Indev.
Although funnily enough, his desire to play Minecraft motivated him to learn to read.
So it might be due to kids being exposed to and wanting to play these games earlier, which has perhaps caught Minecraft off guard resulting in a new generation that plays fast-following Minecraft clones instead of actual Minecraft.
Is it just because there's so much going on in every chunk, and the rendering engine has to load entire chunks all the way from the bedrock to the sky?
Check out Cuberite for comparison. It's a Minecraft server built from the ground up in C++ and it's waaaaaaaay faster than the official server. Advantages of a rewrite I suppose...
I think the end of the line for Java Edition will come at some point, but I also think they know perfectly well that they cannot do that prematurely, and we're very much still in "premature" territory.
There might be issues caused by the raw number of chunk loads, I'm not sure there. But I can say that the majority of my lag issues when hosting minecraft can be squarely blamed on doing world generation in the main thread.
Basically any part of the code that reads/writes chunks in the world or just references some kind of chunk-related data-type would have to be altered
You'll also want to look into making sure the save data is persisted to durable disk across reboots/power loss.
Of course you will probably want to incorporate something that copies the ramdisk contents to somewhere a little more permanent ever so often, set an interval you're comfortable with losing data within! (but given the huge improvement i'd say it is worth it!)
I worked on it for years and I had high hopes, wrote about my progress here: https://medium.com/@deathcap1/six-months-of-voxel-js-494be64.... Inventory, crafting, chests, texture packs, a plugin system, and embedded web views were some of my favorite features. My project was https://github.com/deathcap/voxelmetaverse, hosted at http://voxelmetaverse.com.
Unfortunately I haven't had time to develop it further, but it is all open source if anyone would like to pick up the torch.
Anyway, I thought you might be interested to know that Minecraft Classic seems to be built on my voxel engine, the one I modeled after voxel.js! So there's a kind of circular lineage now, from minecraft to voxel.js and later back to MC...
It was an even easier decision to buy it at $10 back in the day.
There are some great servers online like VanessaE's and Illuna, to showcase what the game is capable of with some mods.
Mods are easy to install, in recent versions, directly through an in-game UI.
You can't improve on perfection.
Mojang has 76 employees as of 2016.
And there are absolutely endless numbers of games that are influenced by Minecraft's mechanics, Stardew Valley, Stationeers, Ark: Survival Evolved to name just a few.