Giant Bomb News


Microsoft Announces "Minecraft Windows 10 Edition"

Beta to launch alongside Windows 10 later this month and it's free for all existing Minecraft PC owners.

Given Microsoft's history of tying random game compatibility to the launch of new versions of Windows, I suppose someone should have seen this coming. But, in conjunction with Minecon (which is happening in London right now), the Microsoft-owned Mojang put out details on "Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition."

You'd think that Microsoft's fancy new Windows would be capable of better graphics. What's with all these blocks???
You'd think that Microsoft's fancy new Windows would be capable of better graphics. What's with all these blocks???

The most important bit is that it's launching in beta on July 29, the same day Windows 10 releases. Actually, the most important bit is that anyone who previous purchased the existing PC version of Minecraft will get this version for free. During the beta period, Microsoft will be selling the Win 10 release for $10 in the Windows Store. Presumably this is the version I was playing when I played Minecraft on a HoloLens back at E3, though there's no mention of that functionality in this announcement.

It'll see some other differences, some of which are described by the company as coming from the Pocket Edition versions of the game. I like my Minecraft on full-fledged computers and slightly less-fledged consoles, so that bit is sort of lost on me, but it'll contain some form of Xbox Live support, letting up to eight players get together and play that way. It'll also let Pocket Edition players connect (via an update to Pocket Edition that'll come at a later date) and... well, one of the other bullet points is that it'll work with the GameDVR functionality built into Windows 10's Xbox app. That seems like a weird thing to call out, considering the whole point of adding GameDVR to Windows 10 was that it's supposed to work with every single game you're running, not just the ones that support it directly, but hey, it's kind of an info-light announcement to begin with.

That's my--and I suspect, some of the existing Minecraft community's--problem with this news. There isn't much here that talks about the future of the existing Java version of the Minecraft client. And including compatibility with Pocket Edition must mean that this version is limited in its feature set, right? I'm no engineer, but I suspect moving away from Java could result in a more optimized and feature-rich Minecraft client. But this sounds like a separate thing built for more cross-platform compatibility that sort of brings the console-level feature set back to PCs. I'm not really sure why PC players would actually want that, considering the core version of Minecraft has been way more functional for years now, but again... it's hard to parse out the full details from this initial announcement. We'll have to check in on the beta when it releases later this month and see what's up.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+