‘Minecraft’ Windows 10 Edition Announced, Free Beta Coming End Of July

Mojang announced the first most significant change to Minecraft following the company’s acquisition by Microsoft last year. It was revealed at Minecon 2015 today that a Windows 10 version is coming alongside the new operating system’s launch later this month.

Minecraft Windows 10 Edition will be a universal app for Windows 10 and is not meant to replace the traditional version of Minecraft, yet. The goal is to make Minecraft playable across Windows 10 devices whether they are PCs, tablets, or the Xbox One console.

The new version of Minecraft will be free to download for existing Minecraft owners from the Windows Store following the launch of the new operating system on July 29. Those who don’t own the PC version of Minecraft yet will be able to purchase the Windows 10 Edition for $10.

Mojang provided the highlights for Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition below, and it appears to be a mix of the Xbox and Pocket Edition versions of the game for now. The number of players online is limited to 8, and it will connect with other Pocket Edition players, suggesting it is the base from which Windows 10 Edition is being built.

  • Craft, create, and explore online with up to seven friends playing Windows 10 Edition Beta, through local multiplayer or with your Xbox Live friends online.
  • Play online and local multiplayer with other Pocket Edition players thanks to a free update, due to arrive soon after launch.
  • Multiple control schemes! Switch between controller, touch, and keyboard controls with little to no effort!
  • Record and share gameplay highlights with built-in GameDVR.
  • Help shape the future of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta with our built player feedback mechanisms!
  • Chickens, zombies, pigs, boats, armed skeletons, potatoes, zombies, baby squids, enchantment tables, villagers, naked sheep, iron golems, potions, ghasts, pickaxes, carrots, and all the weird and wonderful goodness you’ve come to expect from Minecraft.

What this means long term for Minecraft is unclear at this point. Part of the appeal of the PC version game is that the Java language it is written can be run on any operating system. However, the game also suffers from various issues because of the use of the language and how it was first developed. For example, it was not originally built with multiplayer in mind.

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition can be an attempt to clean up the game’s code and get it running better on all devices. Mods will have to be supported first though if there’s any attempt to replace the Minecraft on the PC, which there is no mention of yet. Still, a recent Minecraft console update this past week shows how the developers are trying to get all versions with the same features.

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition

The Minecraft community is understandably more than a little reticent with this announcement as evidenced by the game’s Reddit forums. With more than 70 million copies sold already and still no signs of slowing down, it’s something Microsoft won’t want to screw up.

What do you think of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images via Mojang]