Minecraft has come to another platform. During the September 13, 2017, a New Nintendo 3DS version was announced during the Nintendo Direct. It is immediately available via the eShop, with a physical release to arrive at a later, unspecified date.
The New Nintendo 3DS version of Minecraft has standard and touch controls. There are Survival and Creative modes. Five Skin Packs are included, with the Mooshroom Tamer, Artisan, Red Boy, Santa Claus, and Tundra Tamer shown in the trailer. It also comes with two Texture Packs.
A low key but probably still popular announcement came in the first few minutes of the latest Nintendo Direct.
Nintendo Directs are curious things. Naturally, Nintendo uses them to showcase a few upcoming console titles in pretty nice detail, but it also just casually info dumps a bunch of stuff in other segments, including, in this case, Minecraft.
Yep, the first few minutes of this Nintendo Direct were devoted to Nintendo 3DS and 2DS games, one of which just happens to be a handheld version of the game your kids still can’t get enough of.
Playable only on the New Nintendo 3DS units, this version of Minecraft can be played with touchscreen or button controls and is actually out right now via the Nintendo eShop.
Despite the fact that Minecraft seems like it’s already on every video game platform known to mankind, it had yet to receive a version specifically for the New Nintendo 3DS, so we can cross another one off the list.
Plus, while many things in a Nintendo Direct are coming months later or even next year, this Minecraft comes with the best possible release date, which is immediately. Head to the eShop and check it out now.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled geeking out over upcoming Nintendo games.
The latest Nintendo Direct has offered up some real surprises but the biggest ones are from Bethesda, not Nintendo…
After having already announced Skryim for Switch, publishers Bethesda are going all in with their support for Nintendo’s console, with ports of both Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Doom is out this year and seems to be the secret game that Bethesda were hinting at earlier in the week. A snippet of footage was shown during the Nintendo Direct, and while it seems to be simplified from the original versions it still looks impressive.
Since Doom does run well on less powerful PCs it’s appearance on Switch isn’t as strange as it first seems (the original Doom was also released on the SNES and N64). The real shocker though is Wolfenstein II, which is a state-of-the-art next gen game that is just about the last game you’d expect to be announced for the console.
Bethesda announced a release date for Skyrim on Switch of November 17, but Wolfenstein II won’t be released until 2018 – sometime after the other consoles and PC.
The majority of the Nintendo Direct was focused on Switch and 3DS games being released this year, so there were relatively few other surprises.
One exception though was Minecraft for New 3DS (so not the older models), not least because it’s available right now on the eShop, with a retail version to follow later. Or at least it’s supposed to be available today, as of 9.30am it’s still not on the UK store.
Nintendo also announced Snipperclips Plus for Switch, which will add more than 30 new stages and new ways to play the existing ones. It’ll be available either as a new standalone version or you can buy the new content as DLC.
Another oddity was the Arcade Archives range of coin-op ports, starting with Vs. Mario Bros. Back in the ‘90s Nintendo released slightly altered versions of many of their classic NES games in arcades, but there seems no obvious reason why they should suddenly dredge them up now.
The promise of a brand new Square Enix game for Switch turned out to be the previously teased Octopath Traveler, an old school Japanese role-player with an unusual graphical style that’s being dubbed HD-2D. There’s a demo out today, so we advise giving it a go to check out the visuals at least.
Nintendo’s two biggest first party titles for Christmas were reconfirmed as Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which was looking very hardcore anime, and Super Mario Odyssey – which looked as amazing as usual.
Nintendo also revealed a hardware bundle with the Switch, a digital copy of Super Mario Odyssey, two red Joy-Cons, and a special carry case. They didn’t announce a price, but we doubt it’s any cheaper than buying the game and console separately.
Since Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two’s announcement back in June, Telltale Games has released two episodes from the planned five episode series. Today, the studio announced that the upcoming third episode would be landing next week, and launched a brand new trailer to give fans a sneak peek at what’s to come, seen above.
Titled, Jailhouse Block, the episode will be picking up the story where the previous one left off with Jesse and the gang imprisoned. The new episode’s synopsis provided by Telltale reads as follows:
Having bested The Admin’s icy obstacles, Jesse and the gang are rewarded with a one-way trip to The Sunshine Institute, a nigh inescapable prison buried at the bottom of the world and filled with all manner of miscreants. In order to make it back home, Jesse has to find a way to break out, even if that means employing a few desperate measures…
Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Episode three, Jailhouse Block, will be available on Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS, and Android devices starting September 19. The Nintendo Switch received the entire eight episode first season last month, although there is no word on when will the second season land on the console.
Don’t forget to follow us @NeowinGaming on Twitter to keep up to date with our gaming coverage!
As we wrote about a few weeks back, Mojang has decided to transform its annual Minecraft [$6.99] convention into MineCon Earth, a brand new format aimed at getting more members of the community involved and at being more inclusive. Today, Mojang revealed more details about the event. This new MineCon Earth will take place at November 18th, with the developers broadcasting a 90-minute show that you can either watch along or with friends in what Mojang is calling Viewing Parties. Mojang announced the locations for some Viewing Parties (they’ll take place at Microsoft Stores across the US) and will be adding more as the day draws nearer. These Parties will be more than just places to watch the stream; they will also host competitions, giveaways, and more, and they will all be free to attend, which is part of how Mojang is hoping to make MineCon a more accessible event than it was in previous years.
And it wouldn’t be a Con without swag, of course. MineCon Earth swag can be preordered from here, and it spans from the new Minecraft-themed Xbox One S’s to tshirts, plushes, MineCon Earth Lanyards, and more. There’s also an online Minecraft costume contest, where players can submit videos of themselves, and the winners will get to appear during the MineCon Earth broadcast. There’s a lot more stuff to come, but it’s already clear how Mojang is turning what used to be a pretty difficult event to attend into something much more accessible, and that’s good for the community, especially given how much of the game’s community are children that can’t just travel across the world to attend an event. What do you think about these changes?
Minecraft is a hugely popular game with children and players of all ages, but parents need to understand the new Better Together version before letting kids play it.
The new version is significant for many reasons, not least because it puts the Minecraft business on a firm footing for future expansions by unifying the game technology across console, desktop and tablet versions.
This is a brave move on Mojang’s part. Any substantial change to a video game with an avid following such as this will cause ripples online. That’s certainly what were seeing in early reactions to the beta version of the new game. Although to the uniformed eye the new version of Minecraft looks the same as previous versions, there are visual and functional changes that not everyone is keen on. There are also issues around parental settings and access to online servers that families need to be aware of.
The First Cross-Platform Minecraft
There has been long running debates about which version of Minecraft is the best. This is an impossible question to answer as different players, and different families, focus on different aspects of the game.
The new Better Together Minecraft should help resolve some of this as the same game will be available on different systems. It is currently available in Beta on Windows, Xbox and Android phones and is scheduled for a full release in the Autumn.
This will also include the Nintendo Switch, Kindle, VR and iPad versions of the game, but currently the PlayStation remains outside these plans as an agreement on Sony’s platform hasn’t yet been reached.
Further good news is that if you have an existing digital version of the game you will get the new version of Minecraft for free. This means that if you buy Minecraft in the next month or two you will effectively get two games for the price of one: the original game and the new updated game.
It’s A Brand New Game
An important aspect of the change is that this “Better Together Update” is in fact an entirely new game build on a new game engine. This opens a whole host of new possibilities but it also, inevitably, feels different to play to the other versions.
Popular Minecraft content creator, Joseph Garrett (Stampy Cat on YouTube) has been outspoken about this and other aspects of the new version of the game. He recently shared an hour long overview of his reaction to the changes.
Caveating his comments with the fact they are based on the Beta version he stated that, “It’s essentially a completely different game… there’s a part of me that’s used to the older version and now this one is different, but I think some things are objectively better in the older version.”
“I’m a customer that brought Minecraft like anyone else”, he continued, “the way I play the game is recording it. I think that this new version is going to negatively effect the way I play and record Minecraft.” He rounded off his video by saying, “I play Minecraft almost everyday, it’s my living… and this is the biggest change I’ve had to deal with. Some of it’s good, a lot of it (in my eyes) isn’t great.”
It’s clear that this update is in fact a whole new game. It will take time to assess how that compares to previous versions, as well as to get used to the updated visuals. Also, Minecraft is a game always on the move so it’s likely that early concerns are soon tweaked or fixed. The challenge for Mojang is to balance between features that help new players and those that may hinder those used to how the game functioned previously.
Better Together Is The Future of Minecraft
While the old versions of Minecraft will continue to exist on their existing platforms, it’s this new Minecraft game that will be receiving investment and development going forwards. “Existing owners will still be able to access and play the old console version and minigames”, states the Better Together FAQ, “but those versions will not receive updates after the official release of Minecraft.”
While there’s no rush to update to the new version — the existing Minecraft games won’t stop working — parents need to know that it is this new version of Minecraft that children will want to play. It’s here that new exciting updates will happen as the game is developed in the coming years.
Worlds that children have created in the Xbox One version of the game will port over to the new version of the game. It’s unclear how this will work for the Nintendo Switch, and currently there’s not a public plan for how the PlayStation version of the game will integrate with these new plans going forward.
Take Care With Minecraft Online Servers And Children
I talked to Adam Clarke who is a Minecraft Content Producer who uses the game in his work with schools, arts and theatre projects. He is positive about the opportunities of the new version.
“Minecraft is always an amazingly creative experience. It has intrinsic educational value from problem-solving, storytelling and team building skills. The better together version allows our kids to play together on console on tablet for the first time it also opens up service which of been unavailable on the console version. It gives children the opportunity for the first time to play on servers with mini-game worlds where they will connect and play with other people from all over the globe.”
Children playing in open online servers can be a cause for concern for parents. I asked Adam what security steps have been taken to protect young players. “Children will need an Xbox live account. So, if you don’t want your children to engage an online chat you have ability to change those settings. Learning how to do that maybe daunting at first but it’s well worth the effort. Another way to help your kids navigate this world — to start playing with them”
The online servers that Adam talks about have previously only been available in the desktop version of the game. It’s therefore important that parents understand this new aspect on Minecraft that will be available in the console version for the first time.
Some of the activity in these online servers has caused concern (dating and pixelated nudity in the Lifeboat server for instance) in the past, but Microsoft has hand picked the servers that are available in the console version of the game and worked with the companies that run them to ensure a safe experience. While players can still access other servers in the tablet and desktop versions of the game, on consoles only the hand picked servers are accessible.
The Minecraft ESRB Rating Is Still E10+
The ESRB of Minecraft on Xbox and Nintendo Switch is E10+ and will remain unchanged for the new Minecraft Better Together version of the game. Answering the question about whether servers have to be sanitised to comply with this rating, it answered: “To be listed in the in-game server browser, we require that servers provide moderation and ensure that their content is safe and appropriate for players of all ages.”
Games are rated for the content they ship with rather than for the content that might be created by them. Minecraft has it’s E10+ rating for Fantasy Violence. The ESRB describes the experience as players traversing “an open-world environment, avoiding hazards, building new structures, and crafting weapons to occasionally defend against monsters.”
They address the violence in the game by stating that, “though not encouraged, players can engage in violent acts such as lighting animals on fire and harming animals with weapons. Mild explosions are occasionally heard as players use dynamite to fend off creatures and mine the environment.”
It’s worth noting that playing Minecraft via services like Xbox Live often assumes the players are at least 13 years old. The Lifeboat server, which is accessible in the update, states that its content is suitable for those 13 and over.
Setting Up Minecraft Parental Controls
The new Better Together version of Minecraft in many ways offers better protection for young players and more control to parents that was previously available. The new game adheres to the parental controls on each system.
This offers parents a chance to better understand the interactions their family can make online gaming and set sensible restrictions. This means that there are simple settings to turn off chat so that children can join servers but not see or participate in any in-server communication with other players. Parents can also limit the multiplayer interactions to friends only or no multiplayer if they’d prefer to keep their children from joining servers at all.
Furthermore all the official server partners included in the game have taken “steps to ensure online play is safe and comfortable for all ages”. This includes chat filtering, in-game reporting, and live moderation.
The Lifeboat server, for example, states that it “goes the extra mile to keep young players protected”. This means that its chat filter is updated to block profanity as well as sensitive personal data. It also has a large staff of volunteer moderators to better filter what is happening online. They also state that their games are “made for and offered for players age 13 and older”.
It is also pragmatic about the limits of this kind of protection “The chat filter will only do so much, as it is possible to say nasty things with harmless words. So don’t assume that nothing harmful or bullying has gotten through. Watch for changes in mood of your child. If this happens sit down and have a talk with him or her.”
Marketplace Microtransactions Are Now In Minecraft
Another big change that parents should be aware of is the arrival of cross platform micro-transactions in the new version of the game. This new Marketplace replaces the ability to buy add-ons in separate online stores.
These purchases can now be made in the game itself and will attach, for Xbox users, to the Xbox Live account. It will use a Minecraft Coins currency to buy things, which in turn are purchased for real money.
This is a smart move as it creates a new consolidated market (55 million players) for potential content creators. At the same time it’s something parents should check their purchasing and credit card settings for to avoid unexpected purchases being made on the account.
These transactions need to also take into account the cost of the main game. Currently it seems that this will continue to vary by platform although now the experience will be the same. This means it is cheaper to purchase on tablets than it is on consoles.
It’s still early days for the Better Together beta and there is a lot to try out and take in. To move Minecraft forward it was inevitable that a change of this nature was required. The question is whether the approach to the implementation is getting the balance right between serving new players and those used to the previous Minecraft games. Time will tell.
For parents, it’s important to understand all this so they can setup the appropriate controls and play habits in their family. This will not only ensure that children are safe when they play but the whole family can enjoy Minecraft together without any unpleasant surprises.
For more information, the Better Together Minecraft.net FAQ is a good place to start.
Ricky is at the home of Minecraft in Stockholm, Sweden, to find out what goes into making one of the most popular computer games of all time!
Minecraft was first created in 2009 and later released by the Swedish games company Mojang. Since then, it’s sold more than a massive 120 million copies around the world.
Even though American tech giants Microsoft bought Mojang in 2014, Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm is still the home of Minecraft. It’s where the teams who make the game work.
But it’s not all fun and games – many of you have told us about the problems you have with bullying in Minecraft, or ‘griefing’. What are the people who make the game doing to keep you safe?
Ricky got an exclusive look around the game’s HQ…
Your Minecraft questions
One person who’s worked there since the early days of Minecraft is Jens ‘Jeb’ Bergensten. He’s the man in charge of what’s in the game and how it looks.
So who better to answer YOUR questions about Minecraft?
Working in the gaming industry
If you love gaming, the idea of working for a company that makes games might sound like a brilliant idea.
But what does it really involve, and what can you do now to help yourself when you’re older and wanting to get a job?
Lydia Winters works for Minecraft and here are her top tips…
With the new Minecraft update today on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita, 4J Studios has added support for the Glide Myths Track Pack and Strangers: Biome Settlers 3 Skin Pack. The update is out now in Europe/Japan and will be coming to North America later today.
“Stretch your wings in this legendary Minecraft Glide Track Pack. Drift through the clouds of Icarus, dive into conflict in Excalibur and ride with the Kelpies in Celts,” the PlayStation Store says of Glide Myths, which is £2.49. The Skin Pack is £1.69 and the description says, “Get this pack and make your home in distant lands or ocean depths!”
Here’s the full patch notes for Minecraft update 1.56:
- Added Glide Myths Track Pack; Drift through the clouds of Icarus, dive into conflict in Excalibur, and ride with the Kelpies in Celts.
- Added “Strangers – Biome Settlers 3” Skin Pack.
- Endermen and Endermites should always be hostile to each other.
- Polar Bears should not attack the player when in peaceful mode.
- Wither Skeletons no longer fear daylight, and will attack anything that lives.
- Skeleton Horses can now be tamed and leashed.
- Zombie Horses can now be leashed
- Skeletons shouldn’t attack Village Golems.
- Strays now flee from Wolves.
- Wolves should not become hostile against mobs that they can’t directly see.
- Crafting any kind of Boat now requires a Wooden Shovel.
- String can now be crafted from Web.
- Purpur Stairs and Slabs can now be crafted from both Purpur Blocks and Pillars.
- Stone Slabs, Redstone Repeaters, and Redstone Comparators can now be crafted from Stone, Granite, Andesite, Diorite, and their Polished variants.
- Observers should register changes to Item Frames.
- Observers should register changes to Doors.
- Observers should register changes to Flower Pots.
- Observers should not output extra signals for fire block state changes.
- Observers should not output multiple signals when lava or water is place in front of them.
- Pistons can now push Daylight Sensors.
- Potion durations have changed.
- Fixed slow moving mobs in water.
- Fix for Farmer Villagers not planting seeds often enough.
- Fixed area in the Mini Game Lobby that caused players to become invulnerable in the Mini Game if they were in this location when the round started.
- Fix for MCCE-5523 – Pick Block in Creative
- Fix for MCCE-5549 – Hotbar is not centered in splitscreen battle (PS4, PS3 only)
- Fix for MCCE-2000 – Zombies get stuck in water
- Fix for MCCE-2868 – Levitation effect all in Capitals
The Xbox One/Xbox 360 version of this update is out, and the Wii U/Switch version of this update will be out today or tomorrow.
As a reminder, the Better Together update for Minecraft isn’t planned for PS4, but Mojang is still in talks with Sony about it.
Yesterday during the latest Nintendo Direct we found out Minecraft would be released exclusively on the New Nintendo 3DS.
With plans to bring a local multiplayer component to the New 3DS version of the game, how far will the updates go?
Aubrey Norris who is part of the Minecraft team recently replied to a fan on Twitter regarding a question about the upcoming “Better Together Update” which will unify the Windows 10, mobile and console editions of Minecraft – including the Nintendo Switch version.
While the New 3DS version may miss out on social unification, it’s still impressive how the team at Other Ocean Interactive – who are behind this 3DS adaptation – have managed to provide world sizes that are 2016 x 2016 and 128 blocks high. These dimensions exceed the sizes of the maps in the Wii U version of the game. Not bad for hardware based on a device originally released in 2011.
Let us know in the comments if you have bought Minecraft on New 3DS yet and what your thoughts are about it are so far.
The incredible popularity of Minecraft has seen it launch for numerous platforms, but despite its sizable install base, the 3DS has not been among them. That changes today, although not everyone with a 3DS will be able to play it.
Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition, as it’s called, is titled as such because it doesn’t work on all platforms in the 3DS family. It’s restricted to use on the New 3DS and New 2DS systems, both of which feature more powerful hardware than the standard 3DS and 2DS systems. This version of the game features both the Survival and Creative modes, as well as two control schemes: standard buttons and touch controls. Additionally, it includes special skin and texture packs, which will presumably be the Nintendo-themed ones we’ve seen on Wii U and Switch.
The game was announced today during the Nintendo Direct presentation. You won’t have to wait long to dive in–an Eshop release for the game is coming today. If you’d prefer a physical copy, however, that is coming, but not until some unspecified point in the future.
You can catch up on today’s Nintendo Direct announcements with our roundup of all the news and trailers. Minecraft is one of several new things that Switch and 3DS owners can now download.