Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Announced

A new version of Minecraft [official site] based on the Pocket Edition is coming to Windows 10, Mojang have announced, but ye olde traditionale Java version will continue to be updated for the foreseeable future.

Cross-platform play with the Pocket Edition on other platforms is the main big draw, but it’ll have problems too – mod support is uncertain at this point, for starters. Still, the Java version will continue to exist. If you’re curious, the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition will launch in beta alongside the launch of Windows 10 on July 29th.

The announcement was made over the weekend at Minecon in London, which also saw the first trailer for Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode.

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is basically the Pocket Edition that’s been drifting around pocket telephones and tablets for a few years. These bring mean a few unfortunate limitations. Online play will be limited to eight people, Mojang’s Tommaso Checchi explained in a Reddit post, because “there isn’t a dedicated server right now.” Obviously it won’t support Mac and Linux either but hey, there’s the Java version for that.

Support for mods may also not come, and mods are a pretty big part of Minecraft. “Mod support is hard because C++ is not as reverse engineerable as Java, plus many stores don’t allow those kind of mods,” Checchi explained. “But we’re definitely looking at it!” It will support resource packs changing textures, though.

It does run faster too.

When the beta launches on July 29th, folks who already own Minecraft on PC will be able to get in for free. For others, it’ll be discounted to $10 until it properly launches. Features will be added over time, such as that cross-platform play support.

If you don’t want any of this, hey, the Java version will still work just fine. “This version is not meant to replace PC!” Checchi stresses “PC will be PC at least until this other version will be moddable in a very good way.” He did say that’d be nice if they could have one single cross-platform version on everything, but that’s a dream, not a plan.

52 Comments

  1. RedViv says:

    It would be rather nice if they could find a way to include modding AND remove the dreadful ball and chain that is Java.

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      Harlander says:

      Doing plugin stuff in C++ is a pain in the arse, but it’s by no means impossible.

      • mathphreak says:

        If it were me, I’d make mods run in Lua. No compilation, easy player-side customization, and with some security stuff enabled they could start syncing mods from servers to the client a la GMod.

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          Harlander says:

          Mm, lua’s already been well-demonstrated as being a great choice for modding by numerous games

        • Slazia says:

          Lua would be fine, but then Microsoft won’t be able to sell us their high quality DLC packs. I’ll stick with the classic version.

          At least C++ should bring some solid performance improvements.

        • LionsPhil says:

          A Minecraft-alike with an engine in C++ and basically all game logic in Lua already exists in the form of Minetest and is very, very mod-friendly. And it’s open-source to boot, so you can finagle with the C++ side too if you have need to.

          And it’s not tied to Windows 10 or Phone, either.

          • keithzg says:

            Yeah, Minetest is where we should all be migrating, really, especially since even in the worst-case scenario where the project leads somehow torpedo the project, the source code is already out there under GPL V2.1 or later and the assets under CC-BY-SA 3.0, so others can easily continue to advance the project or at very least keep it running on modern machines and software stacks.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      It apparently will not be a “true” Universal App, so modding should still be possible.

  2. Barchester says:

    Give me a handy recipe book like the console versions have and I’m all ears.

  3. DodgyG33za says:

    The key to Minecraft success is the mod-ability. Without it the Win10 version will be a fail.

    Even if they do support mods, I reckon the wave has been crested, and we are on the far side heading for the shark jump, especially if they take their time getting the vanilla features ported.

    • CameO73 says:

      I don’t think mods are (the only) key to the success of Minecraft. That wouldn’t explain the huge sales on consoles, for example.

      I do think it’s important that they try to get it working, though. A lot of the fun comes from doing creative stuff in Minecraft — mods take that to another level. But for now I’ll settle for a nice built-in recipe book and better performance.

      • Distec says:

        I’ve also never touched a mod for Minecraft, and I play it on both PC and console.

        I like that the option is there, but we shouldn’t oversell it. The vast majority of people will never touch mods unless there’s a super convenient and streamlined way to install them. I’m sure mods are a good way of raising awareness of Minecraft (if it still needs it) through popular Lets Plays and whatnot, but they are in no way integral to the game’s survival and popularity.

        • Kitsunin says:

          The Technic Pack is indeed a super duper convenient way to play with mods. I could build random stuff in Minecraft with friends for ages, but that pack really makes the creating a ton more enjoyable when you’re flying solo (or with friends if you play together for ages), giving you more things to work towards both creatively and gameplay-ily.

      • DodgyG33za says:

        You can get that nice recipe book from a mod or modpack. Honestly, I was a die hard vanilla player until I discovered mod loaders such as Feed The Beast and now wouldn’t play it any other way.

        There are mods that increase the number of mobs, give massive amounts of crafting options or just plain improve the interface by giving your recipes and even auto-completing them from a chest if you want.

        The reality is that the mod community has the numbers and creatively to develop minecraft, while the official developers largely dick around with minor and cosmetic changes and fix bugs.

        • Barchester says:

          Of course you can get that recipe book with a mod pack, but I tried that and honestly, using mods is too much of a hassle for me 99 out of a 100 times. I imagine it is for a lot of people, and a lot of them are less handy with software that I am.

          • Frostycakes says:

            People accepting garbage like this and saying “modding is 2 hard I have 2 press buttons n stuff” really irk me. You’re the reason shit like this happens and they get away with it. Enjoy your mile wide and inch deep puddle that is vanilla, but hey at least you can build useless calculators and elevators using redstone. Yay.

          • Barchester says:

            Christ dude, angry much? :/

  4. Kitsunin says:

    HMMMM. Better performance could be brilliant since my PC is just barely unable to handle the crazy-awesome-shaders mods. But obviously if modding isn’t possible then that fact becomes utterly pointless.

  5. CMvan46 says:

    Honestly without mods what is the point? Mods are the only reason Minecraft is as popular as it is and if it loses that it will fail.

    • phelix says:

      I disagree.
      I think Minecraft is as popular as it is because of the creative potential – infinite LEGO in an endless world filled with dangers and opportunities – which also makes it hugely popular with kids. There is so much stuff to do in Minecraft without having to install a single mod.

    • Doc DarkStar says:

      If mods are the only reason Minecraft is so popular please explain its incredible sales on consoles and phones, where there is no support for mods.

      • RobF says:

        OK, that’s an easy one. It’s selling a ruckload on devices kids have easy access to. It’s floated the Xbox 360 for over a year now when it would have been on a deathmarch as folks upgraded to the next gen. As it is, it’s got a bit of PS2 style longevity. Because the Xbox 360 is multiple times cheaper than a laptop. See also iThings that parents get on contracts or through funds and stuff.

        However, its success on PC is easily attributable to the massive flexability of what you can bend Minecraft into (and also why kids often don’t just have “one” version of Minecraft, but that’s by the by). And, well, without that flexibility, without Minecraft being the weirdy thing that it is, the doors wouldn’t have been opened for the console/mobile versions *to* sell a ruck of copies because it wouldn’t *be* the phenomena it is now.

        • Frank says:

          Huh, you’re just saying “Xbox is a thing, hence much Minecraft sales on said thing” & “iOS is a thing, hence much Minecraft sales on said thing”. That doesn’t explain the high sales volume *at all*. There are other programs/apps/whatever on both those platforms that do not sell as well.

          It’s not a question of “Did Minecraft keep the Xbox afloat?” (I’ll take your word that it did), but rather why it did. Your second paragraph makes more sense — it became a phenomenon on PCs thanks to moddability and its phenom-ness did not fade as it expanded to other platforms… but if that’s the case, then it shouldn’t be a big deal that MS is cutting out mods, since Minecraft has already ascended to phenomenality.

          • RobF says:

            It’s not that an xbox exists or an ithing exists, it’s that they exist at the intersection of affordability and accessibility. And Minecraft is one of the safest games you can leave your kid with -that your kid actually wants to play-. Of course there’s other things but Minecraft sells so well on consoles because it’s the device kids have most access to. It’s not so much expanding to different markets so much as access. You get Minecraft on the device you have/

            But I’m not sure how you leap to “it’s not a problem” of MS cutting out mods because it’s already a phenomena. The intent is to make PE the default client, that much is now obvious right? So when it does, all the mods for the desktop version -will not work-. That’s a pretty big problem by itself. And yeah, it wouldn’t be a problem if this wasn’t going hand in hand with MS attempting to depreciate the desktop over time in favour of their Metro thingymajig.

        • fish99 says:

          Minecraft already sold a crapload before any well known mods came along, and videos of vanilla Minecraft were already massively successful on youtube before any well known mods came along.

          • RobF says:

            Sure but this isn’t an either/or thing. It’s pretty hard to argue that its extensibility didn’t contribute greatly to its popularity.

  6. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    The mighty warlord Bokz, deep in his fastness of Ekz, knelt and completed communication ritual by gripping the pointlessly-spiky blades of his mighty war mace and dripping his own blood into the flames before him. Until his Master had improved the spell, the communications incantation hadn’t even needed blood, flames, or the blessings of unnamed elder gods to make it work.
    A face formed itself out of the dancing flames and gazed down upon the Bokz with eyes like burning coals.
    “Rise, my friend,” intoned the face. It froze for several seconds, then started speaking again, slightly out of sync. “I sense something troubles you.”
    “My Master,” began the Bokz reverently, then he paused for a second to make sure his voice was being conveyed by the ritual. “I do not understand why, when they already have much Main Craft, we are offering them more.”
    “You lack vision, my apprentice,” chided the face gently. “Their Main Craft is subtle and powerful, beyond that of even your Wun.” The Bokz bristled at the suggestion. “Come now, Lord Bokz, you know it to be true. Your Main Craft is but a shadow of theirs.”
    “Then why,” repeated the Bokz slowly, unsure that part of his speech had got through, “must we give them more?”
    “We will give them a NEW Main Craft, young Bokz. It will be inferior to their own – it will even be inferior to yours. We will push it with the power of the Ap’Stoar so none may resist. Eventually their own Main Craft will fade from living memory. The peasants of Peacey will move one step closer to our rule, and they will thank us, every step of the way!”
    “Master,” cried the Bokz, overcome with emotion. “That is-”
    The flames suddenly vanished as the spell ended unexpectedly. The Bokz stroked his chin in contemplation. Yes. This would be a day long remembered.

  7. Artist says:

    Yay, another Microsoft move without any gain for the customer but only for MS themselves!
    I guess the downward spiral has started! FU MS!

    • Solidstate89 says:

      The Java version isn’t being discontinued, and if you already own the regular desktop version you can download this one for free if you so desire.

      What the fuck are you on about?

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Less functionality, less moddability, less systems it’ll run on and given the article it seems likely that they’ll discontinue developing for the java version.

        But yeah, clap for your Windows overlords. At least it doesn’t use java, eh?

        • freedomispopular says:

          That’s funny, because what I saw in the article was, “but ye olde traditionale Java version will continue to be updated for the foreseeable future.” and “If you don’t want any of this, hey, the Java version will still work just fine. ‘This version is not meant to replace PC!’ Checchi stresses. ‘PC will be PC at least until this other version will be moddable in a very good way.'”

          • Jalan says:

            The “at least until this other version will be moddable” bit doesn’t exactly give a resounding vote of confidence toward the Java version’s longevity. Impossible to say if that’s just a misinterpretation of what he was intending to say or that he’s dropping a vague hint that the Java client will become something… else once they get this splinter product into a state that essentially resembles the Java client.

        • Solidstate89 says:

          Gee, that’s fascinating. Did we read the same article? Because they stated – fairly unequivocally – that the traditional Java version would continue to be updated and developed. You know. The exact opposite of the horse shit you just spewed out of nowhere.

          • rochrist says:

            Right. Because MS is always so trustworthy with these statements.

            Here’s what they’ve managed. The paide 2.5 BILLION dollars for a product that has likely pretty much already saturated it’s target audience. And now they’re going to release a version for Windows 10 that is modeled after the useless pocket edition and won’t support mods. Oh, but we aren’t discontinuing the java version!

            Which begs the question, if they’re releasing this for W10, what does that mean about the current version running on W10?

            Brilliant strategy guys.

    • Doc DarkStar says:

      No gain for the customers? Getting the game off of Java is a big gain for Minecraft players and it’s not like existing users have to pay for it again so I don’t see how you can possibly think MS are doing this for themselves.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Look at the longer term. Free is another reason for people to be able to transition to the Windows version. And nothing is saying they won’t discontinue development for the PC version somewhere down the line.

        Aside from all that, well, it -is- Microsoft we’re talking about. As a mac gamer I still remember Bungie (who mainly developed for mac) being bought by them. That turned out really well.

      • rochrist says:

        If you think there isn’t a plan to monetize stuff from this down the road, I’ve got a lovely bridge to sell you. It’s basically their only prayer of salvaging even a portion of what they spent on this fiasco.

  8. cshralla says:

    “Mod support is hard because C++ is not as reverse engineerable as Java, plus many stores don’t allow those kind of mods,”

    Go fuck yourself Mojang. Just because you’ve spent the last six years tooling around with garbage code doesn’t mean you get to just throw major features out the window now. Companies have been making games and mod tools using C++ for YEARS. Fucking Unreal Engine is written in C++. Don’t give me that bullshit.

    • apa says:

      They are Java devs, it’s a different world and learning C++/# would take time . Just outsource the new implementation to India ;)

      • apa says:

        (edit:) As an enterprise Java dev I wouldn’t use Java for games…

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      Phasma Felis says:

      ““Mod support is hard because C++ is not as reverse engineerable as Java…”

      I can’t believe they actually said that. It’s almost true, but really not.

      Minecraft has never actually had mod support. The reason mods exist is that Java bytecode can be converted back into source code, so modders can, with some difficulty, reverse-engineer it and make mods. (“Some difficulty” because Mojang obfuscates their code before distributing, i.e. they deliberately make it harder to reverse-engineer and mod.)

      The only thing that makes C++ mod support harder is that they would have to actually provide proper mod support, which they’ve been promising to do for years, so I’m not sure why they’re complaining about it now.

      • d32 says:

        This. Yes, “unintentional” mod support is harder in C++ than Java, sure. But they have promised proper mod API years ago and it will be exactly as hard to implement in C++ as it would be in Java.
        “Looking into it” means they are considering whether to invest the effort into the implementation or not – so they are “looking into it” from financial standpoint, as there is nothing to contemplate on from technical one.

  9. Simon_Scott says:

    Nice to know they are (apparently) still working on the PC version. Since Microsoft took over it’s gone VERY quiet on that front. I’d not played in a long time (didn’t like how easy it became for zombie outbreaks to spread vs. how difficult it was getting villagers to breed – where my social engineering fun?) but used to enjoy skimming through the updates to see what’s new. Hololens. That’s what’s fupping new.

    • Doc DarkStar says:

      Microsoft have not gone quiet about the PC version of Mincraft at all, it featured heavily in their E3 presentation.

      • Simon_Scott says:

        Outside of the Hololens demo?

        Mojang haven’t rolled out any new content for the PC version since the Microsoft takeover. The only releases have been bug hunts and a now slightly awkward-looking April Fool joke.

  10. steves says:

    Why are they not going .NET & C# with this?

    That’s all open sourced and cross platform now, plus it’s Microsoft’s tech.

    I know it’s not the best for 3D performance, but surely that’s not a huge barrier for *Minecraft* of all things?

    • wu wei says:

      For all their talk about .NET & C#, Microsoft don’t actually eat their own dogfood. They also killed their .NET game framework a few years ago and have provided nothing since to fill that void.

    • Rob Lang says:

      I was surprised they didn’t use C#. Perhaps not with .NET as an infrastructure but with Roslyn they can compile down very close to the metal without using IL. Furthermore, the language can move away from the .NET framework as a whole and rely upon a more game-friendly framework with a tougher garbage collector. Plugins with C# is madly easy and a whole community has sprung up around Unity game dev, which is C#.

      This feels more like “Oh crap! We actually bought Mojang! Wow! Right. What can we do? Windows 10 is coming, let’s do a tie-in release that’s great for marketing. What’s the quickest/easiest way to port the game onto Windows 10? C++? Excellent. Do. You’ve got 6 months.”

  11. TheKeyWolf says:

    Only EIGHT players? I was hoping I could get on servers like OmegaRealm and Minecraft central with this version! But only eight people?!?! C’mon Mojang, if people can’t play their mini-games, factions and such its not going to go well as some of us have more than eight friends… :I Also, no mods? Well, i’ll stick to my old version of minecraft thank you very much! I actually was excited for the realease of this version until I found out only 8 per server, no mods and all the other poop! Well, time to go uninstall some stuff guys and drink some tea.