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There's another part of the Minecraft Message that people hear when they start to learn about the game: Minecraft is constantly improving. Every game forum "Why Minecraft Is Awesome" thread lists Notch's commitment to updates and rapid release cycle as key reasons to try it. Not only is this game fun right now, they say, but it's getting better all the time and here's a bunch of the new features that are just ahead.
I think that also makes the purchase price seem more reasonable. It's like buying a Valve multiplayer title: You have confidence you're getting a lot more stuff than what's in the box.