Mojang has joined the big boys by setting a holiday 2011 release date for the final version of Minecraft.
The holiday season of 2011 is going to be a big one for gaming. Already scheduled are the release dates for titles such as Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uncharted 3, and Mass Effect 3, not to mention whatever else will probably be announced at E3 this year. As of this week, another popular title will see its official release, but you're probably already playing it. I'm talking about Minecraft.
If you're confused, I'll be happy to explain. Markus "Notch" Persson began selling Minecraft in its alpha phase (at a discount) and has constantly been updating it since with new features such as Ghasts and weather (coming in version 1.5). The game moved to beta on December 20, 2010.
On November 11, 2011, Minecraft will be released in its final form. Theoretically, anyway. Notch writes on his blog that Mojang will continue to update Minecraft just as it always has. He says the full version "won't be very different at all from what the game was like a week ago." The date is more of a milestone so that Mojang can work towards implementing more integral features, such as an achievement-like quest system. Presumably, the game will also be raised to full price.
The unofficial tagline for Minecraft's release is "us too." November 11 was actually chosen because it's so close to other videogame and movie release dates. Minecraft has already made its bones, and is only sold digitally, so Mojang could really go "full version" with the game anytime it wanted to and not have it be in conflict with the rest of the industry. While Notch is downplaying the significance of the date, I'd be surprised if there isn't something special waiting for Minecraft players on November 11.