Microsoft’s goal of a unified Minecraft just took another step with new updates. Mojang is bringing together players from the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta on Windows 10 devices and Pocket Edition players for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone by enabling cross-play support. There is a catch, though.
The Minecraft: Pocket Edition 0.12.1 update will allow up to five friends to participate in cross-platform multiplayer on a local network between Pocket Edition and Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta. Meanwhile, the Windows 10 Edition will also allow up to five friends to play together over Xbox LIVE.
As noted above, cross-play between Minecraft: Pocket and Windows 10 Editions will only be supported over a local network. The ultimate goal appears to be setting up dedicated servers, presumably through Xbox LIVE, to support online multiplayer, based on previous comments from Mojang developer Tomasso Checci.
Bring Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and Pocket Edition together was the goal from the start, as Microsoft moves to make its software ubiquitous, regardless of the platform. We see that already with its Office and OneDrive products, and it is doing the same with the most successful gaming franchise it currently has under its umbrella.
The 0.12.1 update brings significant updates to Minecraft: Pocket Edition beyond just cross-play. A host of new features and items are coming. An official changelog hasn’t been released yet, but here is what was shared on Xbox Wire.
“For starters, you’ll get to enjoy revamped touch controls, controller support, and the controller mapping screen. You’ll also be treated to the same enhanced weather effects that Windows 10 Edition Beta players have received, including snow accumulation and directional rain. And in addition to plenty of new goodies to build and potions to brew, you’ll now be able to encounter golems and ocelots, and even explore the Nether. Finally, this update brings the ability to sneak and sprint in Pocket Edition.”
The Minecraft 0.12.1 is expected to release soon. In fact, it was supposed to release today. However, Mojang’s Jens Bergensten explained via Twitter that things did not go as planned.
MC:PE 0.12 will be released when both Android and iOS are ready, and we are still waiting to be reviewed. So probably not today as we hoped
— Jens Bergensten (@jeb_) September 8, 2015
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is available to download for those that have Windows 10 installed on a PC or tablet. If you already own the PC version of Minecraft, Windows 10 Edition is a free download from the Windows Store after logging into your account at Mojang. Otherwise, it costs $10.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition is available to download from iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Store for iOS and Android devices, plus Windows Phone respectively. It costs $6.99 for each platform.
[Images via Minecraft, Xbox Wire]