The announcements at the Microsoft E3 press briefing are filled to the brim with lots of new IPs and franchise continuations. But even Minecraft had something to add into the mix. This fall, Mojang has announced that Minecraft will be available for cross-platform play! Any version of Minecraft from mobile, VR, PC, and consoles will be able to finally play together across devices.
It's being called the Better Together Update and it is a huge step for Minecraft. Almost all editions will finally be unified beneath a single version, and assumedly updated at the same time with the same content. As the announcement blog clarifies, "going forward, the edition you'll find on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile and VR will simply be known as 'Minecraft', a separate entity from 'Minecraft: Java Edition', which is the original PC game." It's worth noting that the Java version won't be ending support, of course, a promise that Microsoft made upon buying the IP originally and seem intent to keep.
Not only that, but the game will be opening up to allow for player-made skins, maps, textures, and even community run massive servers available through the game itself. These 'independent servers' are not to be confused with Minecraft Realms, the private cloud-saved worlds for small groups of friends. Instead, a server browser will be available in the unified version of Minecraft, letting players search through a list including four of Mojang's own: Lifeboat, Mineplex, InPVP, and Cubecraft. There will also be more parental controls and safety features to come with the update to accommodate the change.
On top of that, Mojang and Microsoft will be taking advantage of the Xbox One X (a.k.a. Project Scorpio) to bring a new look to the game. To celebrate the console's launch in November, Minecraft will be releasing a Super Duper Graphic Pack with more realistic textures in beautiful 4k resolution. It is described as including features "like dynamic shadows, lighting that streams through fog, movement in leaves and grass, new textures for mobs and villagers, directional lighting, edge highlighting and more!" It will be optional, however, and available on Xbox One and Windows 10 for the best Minecraft graphics on high-end devices.
Whew, that's a lot of stuff! Let us know what you think so far of the Xbox E3 briefing, or share your excitement about the next step of Minecraft in the comments below.