Minecraft could be considered this generation's Doom - it runs on everything. Beyond the original Java-based game, there are versions for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, New 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PS Vita, iOS, Android, Windows 10, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. This is made even more confusing by some editions having different features. Minecraft's 'Better Together Update' is the first step in addressing the feature fragmentation and implementing cross-play support.

The main problem in the past has been the varying codebases between ports. The original game is still developed and uses Java, the console versions are based on a fork of the Java game ported to C++, and mobile/Windows 10 Edition/Apple TV share the same C++ code that started with Minecraft: Pocket Edition. In an effort to simplify branding and development, Mojang has been porting the Pocket Edition code to consoles, under the name 'Minecraft.'

Basically, every version just called 'Minecraft' will have the same features and support cross-play. The new game is out now on Xbox One (existing Xbox One Edition owners can get it for free), and it will arrive on the Nintendo Switch "this winter." Minecraft: Pocket Edition has already been renamed to just 'Minecraft.'

The main feature of the Better Together Update is cross-play with the Xbox One, as long as they're using the new game (and not Xbox One Edition). There is also a huge amount of new blocks, items, and game improvements. Here is the full changelog:

New Features:

  • Stained Glass
  • Fireworks (with Elytra boost!)
  • Parrots
  • Banners
  • Armor Stands
  • Jukebox and music discs
  • Recipe Book
  • Book & Quill
  • Ravines
  • Coarse Dirt
  • New world start options: Starting Map; Bonus Chest; Trust Players
  • New game rules: Show Coordinates; TNT Explodes; Natural Regeneration
  • Added '/tickingarea' command to create areas that still update when no players are there
  • Player permissions
  • Zombie Villager spawn egg
  • In-game host options
  • Paper doll viewer
  • Outline selection toggle
  • In-game player names toggle
  • HUD opacity toggle
  • Expanded Xbox Live multiplayer world settings
  • New loading screens with funny and helpful tips
  • How to Play screen
  • Remix 3D export functionality (Windows 10 only)
  • New achievements
  • Server Partners
  • Realms invite links
  • Mash-up Packs and Texture Packs will now decorate the main menu and in-game HUD

Tweaks:

  • Rebalanced most of the game sound effects and music, such as rain being much quieter
  • It is now much easier to see underwater after drinking a Potion of Water Breathing and Potion of Night Vision
  • Blaze Powder is now needed to fuel brewing stands
  • Ice blocks are now transparent
  • Maps can now be held off-hand and show the heads of players' skins
  • Locator maps now track the owner's position, regardless of dimension
  • Worlds can now be set to Invite Only, Friends Only, or Friends of Friends
  • Various improvements and changes to navigating the user interface
  • Redesigned button mapping and added Pick Block for controllers
  • Render Clouds and Fancy Leaves can now be toggled in Video Settings
  • Skins can now be changed from the pause menu
  • Chat messages can now be muted
  • Items picked up are now animated on the hotbar
  • Stained glass and banners will now spawn on End Cities
  • Increased the default player limit on worlds from 5 to 8 on higher-end devices
  • Block placement speed now matches the player's movement speed
  • Temperature decreases with height and it can now snow at high elevations
  • Observer blocks have updated textures and will now blink red when outputting a redstone pulse
  • Adjusted the color that flashes when mobs are attacked
  • Brick Blocks, Nether Brick Blocks, and Clay Blocks have been renamed to better differentiate from other items
  • Underwater particles
  • Jungle leaves are now transparent on higher-end devices when Fancy Leaves are enabled
  • Changed the sound effects for Creeper explosions
  • Added sound effects for placing Eyes of Ender into portal frames and opening The End portal

The Better Together Update is rolling out now across Android, iOS, Windows, Apple TV, and Xbox One. You can download it from the Play Store below.

Minecraft
Minecraft
Developer: Mojang
Price: $6.99+