The smartphone and tablet edition of Minecraft is now much closer to its desktop and console versions, after developer Mojang launched one of the biggest updates in its history.
The Minecraft: Pocket Edition 0.12 update adds some prominent features that had previously been missing from the mobile version including hunger; sneaking and sprinting; the game’s Nether zone; and tameable ocelots.
Mobile gamers will also be able to play against people on PCs using the new Windows 10 version of Minecraft, and use physical controllers paired with their iOS device. The update has also launched for Windows Phone, with Android to follow.
The update is a significant moment for Minecraft’s Pocket Edition, which reached the milestone of 30m sales in January 2015, but has always lagged behind the versions for computers and consoles in its features.
The game has been improving rapidly, though, in response to its increasingly large audience: many of whom have only ever played Minecraft on a mobile device.
Previous significant updates included 0.95 in July 2014 which added infinite worlds, caves and wolves, and 0.11 in June 2015 which added a skins feature for players to customise their characters.Mojang announced plans for the 0.12 update at its Minecon conference in July, with the addition of The Nether getting the biggest cheer from the thousands of attendees.
The next major improvement will be full use of the virtual redstone material to create circuits that transmit power, which Mojang promised would come in a Pocket Edition update by the end of 2015.
The developer, which was acquired by Microsoft for $2.5bn in 2014, is also planning to launch its Realms service – where players pay a monthly subscription to manage their own private Minecraft servers to play on with friends – for the Pocket Edition.
Mojang is also working with developer Telltale Games on a new “narrative-driven adventure” called Minecraft: Story Mode, which is expected to debut by the end of 2015.