Minecraft isn't the first game you think about when you hear the word "immersion." No, it's the first one you think of when you hear "surprisingly popular," or "construction-based," or "Notch made more money than Solomon's divorce lawyer." But even so, it's been tied to the new virtual reality trend more than once, most notably thanks to new owner Microsoft's HoloLens platform. That said, a little platform competition isn't going to keep them from making ungodly amounts of money, so check out Minecraft for Samsung's Gear VR headsets.
Minecraft is great, but it's even better when playing with others, and better still when played with people you know. To that end Mojang introduced us to Realms in 2013, an always-on server that enables play with friends or family. Since then Realms has been available for Windows and OS X, but Mojang today announced it's bringing it to Android in the form of an opt-in alpha (although support was actually added for Realms back in 2013).
Realms is a paid service costing $7.99, although for the moment it will be free on Android's Pocket Edition while testing is underway. Mojang says that to use Realms an Xbox Live login will be required, which makes cross-platform play possible between Android, iOS, Windows, and Windows Phone.
Minecraft comes in many forms, but the Pocket Edition is the only one that fits inside your Android phone. The experience isn't all that dissimilar from what you see on desktops, but it does lag behind on some features. Fortunately for players, more have made the transition. Version 0.14.0 has gone stable, bringing additional Redstone components such as comparators, repeaters, dispensers, droppers, hoppers, and more.
The latest beta update for Minecraft Pocket Edition has hit the Play Store. Right now the download is available just for Android users, but the Windows release is on its way. No matter, Android user means you, so dive in.
Minecraft v0.13.0 for Android entered beta earlier this month. Gamers downloaded the game. They tested it. They played with the new Redstone components. They dealt with bunnies. They opened and closed new types of wooden doors. Everything checked out, so now the latest version has gone stable. Non-beta testers are free to download the update straight from Google Play.
Minecraft Pocket Edition updates are often filled with minute changes that you have to be familiar with the game to understand. Version 0.12.1's changelog includes a number of these tweaks. For example, there's "Ocelots! Try taming one with a fish" and "Golems. We recommend you approach with caution." Also, "Sneaking and sprinting! Express yourself through movement!"
Last month the beta version of Minecraft for Android added a ton of new features, most notably a port of the player skin feature that's become such a popular part of the original Minecraft game. Just a couple of weeks later Mojang has instituted the changes in the public version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Go check it out on the Play Store now if you've already purchased the game, or buy it for $7.
Skins are a big deal. Not only do they allow the greatest amount of player customization after, well, making stuff in Minecraft itself, they also represent the game's first post-purchase revenue stream.
Are you still playing the mobile version of Minecraft? Good, because just like the original PC version, developer Mojang is still adding new features. The beta version of the .11 release is now available via the Play Store/Google+ community method. (Previously it wasn't available to the public.) It has more additions and improvements than you can shake a pickaxe at, including some features that have been hotly anticipated by the large player community. Here's a breakdown of all the new stuff from the Google+ news post:
- Added boats rideable by 2 mobs!
- New World edit screen
+ Rename worlds
+ Change gamemode
+ Lock/unlock day cycle
+ Make old worlds infinite
There are very specific applications and implementations that make sense on Google's smartwatch platform. Minecraft isn't one of them. Even so, the first batch of Android Wear devices have at least as much processing power and memory as some of the older or cheaper smartphones, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried something like this. That someone is YouTube user and Galaxy Gear owner Corbin Davenport.
Corbin says that he didn't do anything special to get Minecraft: Pocket Edition running on his Gear Live, just manually installed it (I'm assuming he used the standard ADB commands). Since the Gear Live uses a Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2Ghz, with half a gigabyte of RAM and 4GB of storage, it's got more than enough oomph to play the ubiquitous building game, though I'm betting that it's only working in local mode.