Minecraft has announced the ‘Better Together’ update for the Windows 10, Xbox, mobile, and VR versions of the game on its official website. The update enables the long-awaited cross-platform play options, allowing users to start a Realms game on their console and then continue playing on their mobile device or vice versa. Players on different devices will also be able to come together on massive servers, greatly increasing the options for online play.
The cross-platform options also extend to the Marketplace, allowing access to a greater number of player-made items, mods, and maps and the easy transfer of purchases on one device to another. At present, this all applies to the Windows 10, Xbox, and Pocket editions of the game, which will now be known simply as Minecraft without any tag to identify the specific platform or edition of the game. The Nintendo Switch version will also be compatible with this update by the end of the year. Conspicuous by its absence, however, is the PS4 version, with Sony yet to get on-board with the idea of cross-platform compatibility with Microsoft. However, according to Business Insider*, the two companies are ‘working on it.’
It has also been announced that the original version of the game will now be known as Minecraft: Java Edition in response to how the game is referred to on forums. Support for this edition will also continue with the announcement FAQs giving details of the expansion of the Stockholm-based development team for this purpose.
It should be noted that players with the disc version of Minecraft: Xbox One Edition must have played five or more hours or have purchased DLC within the last twelve months to access the update with a deadline of January 30th, 2018. Owners of the digital edition will receive the update automatically.
The update is not simply about cross-platform functionality, however. A whole host of new features have been added, with highlights including invite links to Realms servers, new blocks, stained glass, and even parrots. In a possible nod to the Minecraft Story Mode game, armour stands, banners, and fireworks have been added as well (see the original announcement for a full list of features and tweaks).
Minecraft and Microsoft are hopeful that this will be the start of something big in the way we play games, stating ‘no one has ever done anything like this before in the history of gaming.’ We will keep you updated on developments regarding the Switch version of the game and any possible future addition of the PS4 to the ‘Better Together’ play options.
Source: Business Insider*