In an attempt to unify the Minecraft brand across multiple platforms, Microsoft announced today at the E3 2017 conference that the game would receive a major “better together update” that would make it available for cross-play across several device types.
Naturally, the update will come with cross-platform support, but will also bring better graphics so there’s little disparity across multiple platforms. The platforms currently being unified are as follows:
Along with the unification of the gaming experience on Minecraft, the update will also make downloadable content, or DLC, available across all these devices. For example, any purchases made on mobile will be available on other devices owned by the same user, whether that’s an Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC.
Worlds that have already been created will also be available across platforms, presumably an attempt to give users a seamless transition from the current disparate forms into the unified Minecraft experience.
The Better Together Update also brings a server browser to the mix, and it’s launching with four servers – Lifeboat, Mineplex, InPVP and Cubecraft – where players can join other public servers that already have millions of monthly users, according to Microsoft. More servers will follow, but no further information was provided on that front. Users can access the servers from the Minecraft start menu, where they’ll see the list of available servers to join.
To clarify, this is not the same as Minecraft Realms, which is a private, cloud-hosted environment.
The update will also bring a new graphics pack to view games in 4K, and with better effects like shadows and improved lighting, as well as water effects.
When? Timelines for the Better Together Update for Minecraft
According to the company, users on mobile and VR will get the update this summer. Xbox One and Nintendo Switch version users will receive the new Edition – simply called Minecraft – free of cost. All purchases from now on will be available across all devices at no extra charge.
This is a big change for Minecraft, and it should foster some interesting new cross-platform groups once the update drops and the new edition is made available on gaming consoles.
The PC version, which was the original Minecraft: Java Edition, will continue to be supported, but is separate from the newly branded version. The new Minecraft update should segue nicely into the launch of the new Xbox One X (formerly Project Scorpio) consoles that are coming in November 2017.