Today, Microsoft is celebrating the huge success of its Minecraft: Pocket Edition mobile offering and talking up its plans for the future.
“The team first began rolling out Pocket Edition on Android and iOS five years ago, beginning with Xperia Play,” Microsoft’s Emily Orrson explains. “Since then, Pocket Edition has expanded to run on Kindle devices, Fire TV, GearVR and Windows Phone. [And] it’s grown to over 40 million players that can connect to each other and players on Oculus Rift and Windows 10 via online multiplayer and Realms.”
As you may know, Microsoft makes three major versions of Minecraft. These are Minecraft: Computer Edition for PC, Mac, and Linux; Minecraft: Console Edition for Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and 4, PlayStation Vita, and Wii U; and Minecraft: Pocket Edition for the mobile platforms cited above. What’s missing, of course, is cross-edition interoperability. That is, gamers can play Minecraft with each other within any edition of the game—Xbox and PlayStation, for example, or Android and iOS—but they can’t play with others using other editions.
I had hoped that a discussion about the future of Minecraft: Pocket Edition would include at least a vague promise to make all of these editions interoperable over time. But that is not the case. Instead, Microsoft is talking up some updates that are coming in the near future.
“In just the past six months, we’ve ushered in redstone, witches, the Wither, Elder Guardians and pig riding,” Orrson writes. “And Pocket Edition and the Windows 10 Edition are about to get the complete game loop with the upcoming 1.0 Ender Update.”
Some other features coming in the 1.0 Ender Update include:
World Seed Library. This special feature will help gamers more easily find worlds with the features they’ve been looking for. “We’ll be populating the library and refreshing it periodically with a collection of dozens of amazing seeds for you to try,” Microsoft says.
Polar bears and igloos. Colder worlds will be populated by with polar bears, and you will find igloos while exploring.
Music. Minecraft: Pocket Edition gamers will finally pick up a fan-favorite feature from the Windows 10 Edition and will be able to enjoy playing the game with the original soundtrack. “This is set as a separate, optional download rather than directly part of the main game download, so that we can be kind to your bandwidth,” Orrson says.
Oculus Touch support. Oculus gamers playing the Windows 10 Edition in VR will get support for Oculus Touch input.
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