Minecraft is expanding in a big way. No longer will the massively popular construction game be fractured along console and platform lines. Thanks to the newly announced Bedrock Engine update, Minecraft will be connected across all platforms (except PlayStation), with more features so that Minecraft, just Minecraft, will be your one stop shop for everything you love about the game. Oh, and did you see how gorgeous it looks in 4K?
In a press preview for Minecraft's Bedrock Engine, Microsoft descriped the update as a future facing, unifying update that will prove Minecraft is "better together." The impression I got however, was that Minecraft was making a big move towards evolving from a game, into a "creative platform."
What the Bedrock update means is that edition names are gone, because there are no more editions. The Minecraft you buy on the Switch will be the same you buy on the Xbox which will be the same you buy on mobile. All the DLC you've ever bought on any version of Minecraft (sans PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U) will jump with you across a shared account. It's not perfect yet, some DLC will encounter issues jumping from one console to another, but Microsoft is hard at work ironing out those issues.
Until the update, Minecraft fans have created individual marketplaces and servers to branch out their creative dreams. Not so with the update which will incorporate server experiences into the core game. These servers and realms can be discovered in game, which the developers are very excited about, primarily with the idea of bringing fanmade experiences into the core game. To help with the transition, Minecraft incorporated some of the most popular private servers like Lifeboat into the proper game.
Finally, Minecraft will add a 4K visual update in preperation for the Xbox One X's new graphical powers.
I have some reservations that Minecraft is soldifying a grip on the creative works of others, but it seems that both private Minecraft developers and the Minecraft team have come into a mutual agreement, and the chance for casual players to discover these new servers naturally in the course of just playing the base game is good for exposure. At launch, popular servers like Lifeboat, Mineplex, and ILVL PVP will be featured, with Minecraft reaching out to more private servers in the future. Minecraft is also expanding multiplayer teams from five to seven to help facilitate this new focus on interconnected play. In addition, there is an open application process for independent developers who feel that their servers will be a good fit for Minecraft.
Along with the Minecraft encyclopedia which will be included into the core game, this move sounds like a big assimilation for the game. Soon, Minecraft, the game itself, will be the only service you need to have access to literally all things Minecraft.
While that sounds like a natural conclusion, Minecraft's decentralized growth means that this is actually a pretty big deal. And while I'd hate to see the unofficial Minecraft weaken as a result of the Bedrock update, it is very interesting to see Minecraft essentially become a creative platform unto itself, something that has the potential for even further growth if need be.
Time will tell if the update's centralizing move ends up growing the game to even bigger heights than it is already. The Bedrock update hits this Summer.