China’s Forbidden City has been recreated in billions of bricks in ‘Minecraft’

Okay, that’s dedication.

A small team of Minecraft users have spent more than two years building a virtual model of China’s Forbidden City.

The effort eventually came down to two guys labouring over the course of over two years, to lay down billions of bricks to eventually recreate the 600-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site.

The team was led by 22-year-old Su Yijun from Guangzhou, who orchestrated the plan from scratch in 2014, as volunteers dropped out one by one from the gargantuan task, Sixth Tone reports.

Their virtual creation covers a square grid of 100 million blocks, and even replicates furniture inside, from the Emperor’s throne, to the traditional Chinese-style beds of the time.

His video has been viewed some 870,000 times on Bilibili, a Chinese video portal.

The most difficult part of the project, he says, was being unable to visit and construct parts of the Forbidden City that are not open to the public.

“Many areas are not open to the public and….the interior decorations were not as how they originally appeared,” he told Sixth Tone.

Here's the Forbidden City IRL
Here’s the Forbidden City IRL

Image: PILIPEY/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

The Minecraft version
The Minecraft version

Image: 国家建筑师/bilibili

Real lion at the gates
Real lion at the gates

Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Minecraft lion
Minecraft lion

Image: 国家建筑师/Bilibili

The Forbidden City was a Chinese imperial palace that served as the home for 24 emperors. It was so named because it was closed to the public for hundreds of years.

The palace grounds cover a span of 74 hectares, and attracts over 14 million tourists to Beijing to see it each year.

China’s Forbidden City has been recreated in billions of bricks in ‘Minecraft’

Minecraft’s cross-platform ‘Better Together’ update arrives in beta

Minecraft’s “Better Together Update” is rolling out now in beta, for players on Windows 10 PCs and Android devices. That means players on either platform with the beta installed will be able to participate in games from either type of device, together in cross-platform play.

This update was originally revealed at E3 back in June, and includes other feature additions like community servers and a community Marketplace with paid add-ons. There are also a range of new in-game item types, multiplayer host and permission options, and more.

The beta is also set to roll out for Xbox One “soon,” Microsoft says, which will add the gaming console to the cross-platform action. Microsoft also said when the update was announced that it’ll eventually add support for the Play Together Update to iOS, Nintendo Switch and VR devices (Sony was apparently offered the chance to participate in the update for PlayStation, but declined).

To get in on the beta, players will need the Xbox Insider app for Windows 10 and Xbox One, and on Android they’ll need to have Google Play and of course everyone will need a copy of the game.

This could be huge for unifying Minecraft’s massive player community, which is already quite the club.

Minecraft’s cross-platform ‘Better Together’ update arrives in beta

This guy who recreated his entire high school on Minecraft must have really, really missed it

Now this is dedication.

A Mincecraft player in Taiwan decided to recreate their entire school on the sandbox video game because they missed it so much.

The gamer, along with a few friends who attended the Banqiao Senior High School in Taipei, started working on recreating their school during their first year of university.

It took them two years to recreate the entire campus:

The amount of detail is incredible. From the athletics field:

Image: @MINECRAFTPCSH/FACEBOOK

To the swimming pool:

Image: @MINECRAFTPCSH/FACEBOOK

And just the general facade — there’s nothing this Minecraft player has missed out on.

Image: @minecraftpcsh/facebook

“I started this [project] in my freshman year because of homesickness,” said the gamer in an online blogpost.

The gamer, along with three other high school classmates, then started on the project in 2014.

But the project is far from over.

“There are still many parts of the school that are not completed, because we are very busy,” they said. “Only 87% is complete.”

The group have set up a Facebook page, to keep people updated about the project that they hope to complete soon.

Given it already looks amazing, we can’t wait to see how it turns out.

This guy who recreated his entire high school on Minecraft must have really, really missed it

Why The Emoji Movie Fails

The Emoji Movie might have been 💯 . It might have been a work of quiet genius, in the manner of Toy Story or The Lego Movie or Inside Out: a quirky and soulful exploration of the worlds that exist in parallel to our own, investing objects that would seem merely to be dully inanimate with story and, thus, empathy. It might have been, too, a particularly timely exploration of smartphones and their contents: Here, after all, are objects that are with so many of us, at our sides and in our hands, humming bits of glass and metal that tell a million little stories with each swipe, and each tap, and each touch of a warm human pulse.

But: no. The Emoji Movie, instead, is a frenetic mishmash—not so much a single story of a parallel world so much as a roller-coaster-y tour of some of the apps of 2017: Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, Candy Crush, even Dropbox. Everything, here, is branded—even the parallel world itself, Textopolis, which is home to Gene, the offspring of two “meh” emojis. Gene is, in the grand tradition of such for-kids-but-also-not-totally-for-kids films, Different. He is not limited, in the way of the emoji, to one expression; he can make them all. But in order to realize that which makes him Different might actually make him Special, Gene first goes on a dizzying journey—through Textopolis, yes, but also through Spotify and Just Dance and YouTube and, in general, late capitalism as it is understood and manufactured by the Hollywood of the moment.

Because of that—and because also, ironically, of the premise that might have been 💯—critics eviscerated The Emoji Movie. Really gleefully eviscerated it. (Schadenfreudenunicoden?) The New York Times called it “nakedly idiotic.” BuzzFeed wrote that “it’s barely a movie so much as a confused attempt to both condescend to an audience about their short attention spans thanks to mobile devices while also trying to profit off of that very same audience.” Gizmodo did an all-emoji review of the film featuring, primarily, the Thinking Face emoji in several permutations. So critically unloved was this film—so squandered the promise it represented—that for a moment it seemed to be in contention for that rarest of honors: a 0 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (Alas, even that moon-shooting was a failure: The film currently stands at an awkward score of 7 percent.)

In a weird way, then, The Emoji Movie is not just a critical flop, but also a metaphor for a Hollywood that is struggling to find the line between branding that audiences love and branding that audiences resent. Here is a film that takes some of the most intimate tools of people’s lives—the hearts and eggplants and joy-tears and tacos and other images that help them to express their love, and their desire, and their sadness—and considers how wacky it would be if one of those images was actually a guy named Gene. Here is a film that takes the revolution that has resulted from the advent of digital communication and whimsically brands it. Emojis, after all, are not just the little doodads that live in your WhatsApp. They are also, in the most basic and most profound of ways, tools—parts of a global continuum that has included everything from hieroglyphs to emoticons to text itself. They ask questions about what it really means for something, at this point in human history, to be “universal.”

The Emoji Movie, as it happens, shares a rough premiere date with The Emoji Code, the new book from the scholar and prolific author Vyvyan Evans. Evans’s book (subtitle: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats) is an analysis—aimed at a popular audience—of the academic research that has been conducted about emojis since their creation in the late 1990s. It summons linguistics, and psychology, and cognitive science to consider why emojis have proven so popular and, so far, enduring. It reads, often, as a defense of what Evans refers to as Emoji, with a capital E: the complicated system of pictographs that augment text in digital communication. The collection of unicode that, Evans argues, “enables us to provide the non-verbal cues otherwise missing from textspeak.”

Evans’s book is a thorough exploration, in other words, of the extremely two-dimensional stars of The Emoji Movie. But it is also, in its arguments, something of an implied condemnation of The Emoji Movie. In Evans’s science-informed telling, emojis are not a language unto themselves, as has sometimes been suggested, but rather tools of communication that are productively basic: useful bridges of the emotional gaps that can exist in the dull black and white of text as it is rendered on a screen. The Emoji Code in many ways champions emojis against those who have seen the cheeky pictographs not as extensions of English, but as a threat to it—and to, by extension, language as we have known it.

And while that framing can itself occasionally read as overly two-dimensional—there are few people, at this point, who seem to believe that emojis will be the death of English, or any other language—it also situates The Emoji Code well with the ideas espoused by the linguist John McWhorter, and by the linguist Gretchen McCulloch, and by so many other canny observers of English as it lives and grows in its new digital environments: Language, breathing free, is its own kind of democracy. And that is evident online, in particular, where a good turn of phrase, or a new meme, or indeed a cleverly deployed emoji, can be so easily amplified and adapted and woven into the language. Emojis, in particular, are elastic in that way: They can mean whatever the writer, and whatever the recipient, decide they mean, together.

That can lead to a productive kind of ambiguity. Remember that tattoo Drake got a few years ago, which could be read either as two hands, praying, or as two hands, frozen in a high five? The star, as New York’s Adam Sternbergh pointed out, finally settled the matter: “I pity the fool who high-fives in 2014,” Drake clarified on his Instagram. But there would be many more debates in that vein. Are those dancing twins, symbols of female friendship, or Playboy bunnies, symbols of female objectification? Is that a toothy mouth-gape a grin or a grimace? When I texted “Drinks?” and you texted back, “🐙,” what did you mean?

This kind of ambiguity, Evans suggests, also gives way to useful flexibility. It allows emojis the kind of semantic suppleness that helps them to humanize, and augment, and otherwise expand, our text-based communications. Emojis can function as punctuation. They can work as pictographic versions of “lol.” They can convey personality—identity—with notable economy. Slack, the group-messaging service widely used for professional chatting, recently offered users the ability to add emojis to their handles, as a kind of status update—a 📅  would mean “in a meeting,” a 🚌  would mean “commuting,” a 🌴  would mean “on vacation,” and so on. Almost immediately, though, the service’s users expanded on Slack’s idea: They began using the emoji-status capability to augment their handles in more playful and expressive ways. Suddenly, Slack chats proliferated with people whose names were accompanied by screaming cats and expressionless faces and tiny, squared portraits of Jay-Z. The emojis had been used for a different purpose than the one originally intended. They had been made at once more fun and more expressive of users’ identities. They had been, in their way, democratized.

It’s a small point when it comes to emojis but a bigger one when it comes to the political power of language. Emojis are part of a broader phenomenon playing out across social media: English is exploding, at the moment, with new words and new grammars and new modes of human expression. It is alive—not in the way the creators of The Emoji Movie have imagined on our behalf (hey again, Gene), but in a much more meaningful way. As Evans puts it:

While Emoji will surely continue to evolve, and other systems and codes will be developed that will complement and, doubtless, replace Emoji as it currently exists, its emergence provides the beginning of a more or less level playing field, between face-to-face interaction and digital communication—better enabling effective communication in the digital sphere.

The Emoji Movie is notable in part because, in its very conceit, it pushes back against all of that buzzing evolution. It tries to brand it. It tries to turn it into intellectual property. As Alex French reported in a fantastic piece for The New York Times Magazine, there’s a booming business in Hollywood right now, one that involves taking existing intellectual property and, through the insistent alchemy of the studio budget, converting it into a Story. Angry Birds. Battleship. Fruit Ninja. Jumanji. And on and on.

Films like this are of course part of a much larger trend in Hollywood, the one that involves comic-book franchises, and sequels-to-sequels, and a hefty reliance on the general notion of the “universe”—films that give rise to anxieties about the reboot industrial complex and that cause people to wonder, extremely fairly, whether Hollywood is simply out of new ideas. (In 2016, La La Land was the only film of the year’s 20 top-grossers to have been wholly original—that is, not based on existing material. In 1996, nine of those 20 had been based on original screenplays.)

But The Emoji Movie and its fellow travelers are different. They aren’t merely adapting stories from another genre; they are taking something that has no story of its own—the toy, the game, the emotion—and attempting to inject story into it. As the producer Tripp Vinson told French, the changes that have come about in Hollywood over the past decade have “forced me to look at everything as though it could be I.P.” Sometimes, the results of that general approach to the world—everything can be a story—are delightful. Sometimes, they can be creatively Lego Movie-esque, their imagined worlds allowing for satire and allegory as well as entertainment. Many more times, though, those films read as cynical. They scan less as works of cinema than as weary exercises in forced anthropomorphism: big-screen versions of Clippy. (“It looks like you’re writing the script for a soulless cash grab! Would you like help?”)

And that’s another problem with The Emoji Movie. It takes all the productive linguistic experimentation that is happening every day—every minute—every second—in people’s phones and lives and reduces it down to stock characters who go through the motions of extremely conventional storytelling. Sony won The Emoji Movie in a bidding war against, reportedly, Warner Bros. and Paramount. In that sense, Gene belongs to the studio. But in another sense, Gene does not belong to anyone. Those silly little pictographs belong to us all. The Emoji Movie grafts its own plot onto the tools that real people, people who are not Hollywood studio executives, have been using to write their own stories, to have their own fun, to tell their own truths. No wonder the movie made them, in the end, a little bit 😡.

Why The Emoji Movie Fails

‘Schoolifying’ Minecraft Without Ruining It

Steven Isaacs — @mr_isaacs on Twitter — is a full-time technology teacher in Baskingridge, N.J. He’s also the co-founder of a new festival that set the Guinness World Record for largest gathering dedicated to a single video game.

The game that cements both halves of his life together? Minecraft.

(In case you haven’t heard, Minecraft, originally developed by Markus Persson of Sweden, offers players the chance to build a 3-D world out of “blocks.” Since its release in 2009, Minecraft has sold more than 121 million copies, making it the best-selling game of all time after another blocky favorite, Tetris.)

Other games allow you to fight monsters, construct giant castles, build power plants, navigate mazes, chop down trees for wood, survive in the wilderness or band together into guilds. Minecraft has all of the above. It is so open-ended, in fact, that some refer to it as a platform instead of a game, or an “infinite Lego set.”

It wasn’t long before an advance guard of teachers like Isaac started using the game in classrooms. One, Joel Levin of New York, co-founded a company called TeacherGaming which came out with a modified classroom version, MinecraftEdu.

In 2014, Microsoft bought Minecraft. This past school year, the company purchased MinecraftEdu and launched an official Minecraft: Education Edition.

Teachers are using Minecraft in every imaginable subject, from literature to social studies to math. Build a 3-D diorama of an archaeological dig; retell a Japanese folktale; test bridge designs in different materials. Isaacs’ students build video games within the game.

In Diane Main’s computer science class at a private school in San Jose, students interview each other and then build each other’s dream homes, based on what they learn about their “clients.”

“It’s the weirdest thing in the world to think about,” muses Meenoo Rami. A 10-year classroom veteran and national board certified teacher, Rami now works for Microsoft, spreading the Minecraft gospel to fellow teachers.

“A little tiny company creates a game and it goes insane,” she says. “It’s not meant for learning, but some adventurous teachers think it might be good for learning” and start doing, she says, “super cool stuff.”

Then, a giant corporation gets ahold of it.

The acquisition by Microsoft, and the transition from Edu to EE, has set up a classic tension: What happens when a phenomenon nurtured by amateurs suddenly goes mainstream? And will it be good or bad for students?

At the skate park

In the Edu days, teachers set up and maintained their own servers — a server is a single version of the game that a certain number of users can play in together. This required some technical know-how, but also allowed for lots of experimentation and customization, or “mods”.

“Scrappy educators and hackers and YouTubers kept adding stuff on, and it was very much an organic, geek-led movement,” says Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at UC Irvine who studies how children and teens use media. She is also the founder of an online Minecraft summer camp.

Ito compares the game to a skateboarding park: a place that kids flock to and have a blast while also picking up wicked cool new tricks. “Kids are mostly hanging out, but they’re also learning from each other,” she explains. “Some are more advanced and are displaying their skills, so there are open invites to level up.”

Minecraft as a teaching tool wraps up so many contemporary trends in education. It’s inherently collaborative. “The multiplayer part is really at the heart of it,” says Isaacs, noting that many other tech tools available are, at best, “two kids, one computer.”

It’s creative, because it’s almost entirely open-ended.

And new features keep expanding the possibilities. The Minecraft material “redstone,” which simulates electrical circuits, offers the chance to layer-in engineering lessons too. Code Builder allows students to use programming tools to perform tasks within the game.

Stampy Cat and Gizzy Gazza, and Office365

But the most important factor that makes teachers gravitate toward Minecraft is that so many, many kids really love it.

That’s what Isaacs discovered when more than 12,000 “crazed fans and their parents” paid between $49 and $79 to attend the first Minefaire, last October in Philadelphia. They’re fans not only of the game itself, but of YouTube celebrities with millions of subscribers. Essentially, Minecraft has its own rock stars, with names like Mr Stampy Cat and Gizzy Gazza.

With all this grassroots enthusiasm, it’s not surprising that Microsoft would identify Minecraft as an important trend. The tech giant has been eager to re-establish itself in the classroom market. Microsoft Office was once standard in schools. But with Apple and Google now dominating in devices and Google in free classroom software, the company needed a new inroad.

Microsoft’s Minecraft is a little different than what came before. The Education Edition conforms better to traditional lesson planning, particularly grading. For example, you can take pictures of what you built with a “Camera” and create a “Portfolio” with commentary to document your project.

If you don’t want students shooting off fire cannons in the middle of a science lesson, you can block that feature. There is a “Classroom” mode and even “chalkboards.”

The Education Edition also has different licensing that makes it, in most cases, more expensive for school districts. It requires schools to be registered on Microsoft’s platform.

Taken together, the changes have some observers wondering whether the company is going to turn Minecraft into a product, with all the ubiquity — and all the fun — of PowerPoint or Office.

‘The scrappy, user-generated Minecraft’

“There’s some danger in having it become more packaged and commercial, losing that energy that was more about this scrappy user-generated Minecraft,” says Ito. In the old days, she explained, teachers bought MinecraftEdu once, with licenses for each machine. Students kept their individual accounts from year to year, and inside and outside school, as they wished.

Now, Microsoft requires that teachers buy licenses for each student who uses Minecraft — $5 per user per year — and to renew them every year. It takes less technical know-how than maintaining a server, but in most cases this is far more expensive than the MinecraftEdu model.

“It’s an equity issue,” says Diane Main, the teacher in San Jose.

Microsoft’s Rami responds that Minecraft is a great value compared with other ed-tech products. There are bulk discounts, and the company is exploring need-based discounting as well.

On Minecraft Education’s official message boards, there are complaints about the new sales model: “As an educator I look at this and I see opportunity,” one teacher wrote. “Microsoft looked at it and said: ‘How can I make a better profit.’ ”

Rami says the company is trying its best to listen to all the feedback. Microsoft has recruited 60 of the most enthusiastic Minecraft teachers, in 20 countries, to serve as “mentors.” They “inform our work by giving us feedback and keep us honest and grounded to the work that teachers actually do in the classroom.” Main and Isaacs are both mentors.

Mentors help bring other teachers on board with Education Edition and provide suggestions for new features.

“It’s a two-way pipeline of feedback,” Main says. This is a voluntary position, but there’s also the potential to earn money by leading professional-development sessions.

In the process of cultivating this community, Microsoft has converted potential critics into supporters.

“Microsoft has been fighting an image problem, but this has softened me toward Microsoft in general,” Main says.

“They’re one of the model companies in terms of ed-tech,” agrees Isaacs.

But an issue with the pricing and licensing changes remains, says Ito. Rather than accounts belonging to individual students, they belong to the school, like a textbook that is yours for just one year.

“It’s pretty significant,” says Ito. “The identity lives within the Microsoft suite. It’s not a user identity that the kid retains and has at home.” For that reason, says Ito, many of the old-school Minecraft teachers are holding on to their MinecraftEdu licenses for now.

Main is one of them. Despite her status as a mentor, she says she can’t use Minecraft: Education Edition in her own classes, because her projects depend on students being able to sign on from home and collaborate. She says she has hope that the company will soon figure out a workaround, based on the progress they’ve made on other issues raised by teachers in the last 18 months.

Nevertheless, the shift away from individual accounts to school-based logins is part of a bigger transition that may be inevitable.

The reason teachers brought Minecraft into the classroom is because young people love it. But anything that is incorporated into schools is touched by standards, tests and grades, and often becomes mandatory.

Isaacs and Main are using Minecraft as a fun gateway to other kinds of learning with tech — and an appeal to students who don’t necessarily see themselves as stereotypical coders.

But by definition, if Minecraft becomes standard issue in more schools, it will no longer be a passionate, personal discovery for most students, or teachers for that matter.

Will it still have the same appeal and foster the same engagement?

Main says she’s had this exact debate with one of her students, a former homeschooler. “She was talking about the risk of making Minecraft suck by schoolifying it. And I said, ‘Just because you schoolify it doesn’t mean you suckify it.’ It doesn’t matter what it is, anything can be done badly or done well.”

‘Schoolifying’ Minecraft Without Ruining It

Egmont launches first official Minecraft magazine with Mojang

Mojang has partnered with UK publishing house Egmont Publishing to create the first official Minecraft magazine, which launches this week.

The 60-page launch issue, which hit stores on Tuesday, is priced at £4.99 and will have a monthly onsale period. Inside, readers will find 14 pages of hints and tips on how to become a better build, a behind-the-scenes looks at Mojang’s offices in Stockholm, as well as a whole showcase of exclusive builds that have been broken down into detailed step-by-step guides.

The Minecraft: Official Magazine will also have its own team of adventurers created by Mojang exclusively for the magazine. Sparks, Beat, Scout and Monty will present both the tips and guides section as well as star in the magazine’s official comic strip, which has been co-created by Mojang.

Egmont has a long history with Mojang, publishing a number of official books that together have sold 9m copies in the UK market to date. The Minecraft: Official Magazine is the only Minecraft mag that has been developed in partnership with Mojang for its 55m active user base.

Cally Poplak, MD Egmont Publishing said: “Outstanding publishing for children means curating and packaging quality content in a desirable print format that they can collect and share with friends. We are proud to have done this with our bestselling Minecraft books and we cannot wait to share with the Minecraft community the only magazine that Mojang endorses.”

Laura Adnitt, publishing director at Egmont Publishing UK added: “We are thrilled to be bringing this exceptional product to the UK market this summer. The appetite for Minecraft is stronger than ever and we know that the Minecraft community will devour the exclusive content in our official magazine.”

Lydia Winters, brand director at Mojang also said she was “delighted to see this magazine come to market: it is the result of many months of hard work and all things Minecraft as we worked on making the best possible magazine for our community.”

Egmont launches first official Minecraft magazine with Mojang

3D printing now in Minecraft’s beta update ‘Better Together’

Microsoft has updated Minecraft and now 3D printing is part of the blocky world. ‘Better Together’ is the name of the beta release that works with Remix 3D, a Microsoft community where users can share their work.

Minecraft players can now export their creations to Remix 3D.

3D printed Minecraft architecture. Image via Minecrafters.
3D printed Minecraft architecture. Photo via Minecrafters.


The integration of Remix 3D

3D printing Minecraft creations is not a new concept and several options have appeared in the past allowing gamers to purchase 3D printed characters and 3D printed buildings. However, this is the first time that Microsoft has integrated 3D printing into Minecraft.

Better together is also Microsoft’s first foray in allowing players to be able to join each other in the game – regardless of platform. Players on PC or console will be able to create, inspire, cooperate and compete in the update.

3D Minecraft City Render. Image via Minecraft gallery.
3D Minecraft City Render. Image via Minecraft gallery.


Why would players want to 3D print their Minecraft creations?

Minecraft is created using voxels -aka volumetric pixels- this gives the game a blocky aesthetic. The look is frequently seen in 3D design. For example the chair below.

The Voxel Chair v1.o. Photo via Design Computational Lab.
The Voxel Chair v1.o. Photo via Design Computational Lab.

The update also gives players an item that is their own creation and allows them to create models for their own 3D printed, external Minecraft model world.

Beta consoles updates making creations easily accessible

Currently the beta update for Windows 10 and Android are available – Xbox One’s beta is coming soon. Eventually the update will include Nintendo Switch.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Featured image shows the Better Together Update.

3D printing now in Minecraft’s beta update ‘Better Together’

Better Together FAQ

All the mysteries of the impending mega-update revealed!

The Better Together update is on its way! What does that mean? It means that we will soon be unifying Minecraft for console, mobile and Windows 10 into one lovely shiny edition of Minecraft. And what does that mean? That means players on those platforms will be able to join each other in-game, create, cooperate or compete together on massive servers, and access whatever swish skins and Marketplace adventure maps they own on any of their compatible devices. You can read more about the fancy features coming with the update here or jump in the beta to get an early (and probably slightly unstable) glimpse.

You probably have a few more questions about just how this whole platform convergence thing will shake down. And so we put together this crazy long FAQ for you. So many questions! So many answers! And we’re not done yet – we’ll probably be tweaking and adding to this FAQ as more info comes in.

So…

LET THE QUESTIONING BEGIN!

Q: Which version of Minecraft will you be using to unite Minecraft?

A: We’ve been developing the Minecraft version that is currently on mobile and Windows 10 since 2012, also known as our Bedrock Engine, and will be bringing it to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch as part of the Better Together Update.

Q: What will this version be called?

A: At launch, the Bedrock Engine-based version of Minecraft will be called simply Minecraft on all platforms. Our general rule of thumb is that if a version can play together with the others, it’s called Minecraft. The original Java PC version and all other isolated versions will have “Edition” names, like Minecraft: Wii U Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition.

Q: Why are you renaming the PC version of Minecraft? Does this mean that you are stopping development on the PC version?

A: Now that we have finally achieved a unified Minecraft which can be played on most devices, we wanted to simplify things and make it clear that they can all play together, so it felt to be the right time to simply call them Minecraft. We also found that the community refers to the Java PC version as the Java Edition, so it felt natural to rename it to make it more distinctive from the other versions of the game. We plan on actively supporting the Java Edition going forward with updates as we always have and have also welcomed several new members to the development team in Stockholm.

Q: When will the Better Together Update launch?

A: The Better Together Update will launch this Autumn, once it’s ready and we’ve satisfactorily evicted bugs from the premises.

Q: Who will be able to play in the Better Together Update beta?

A: All players who own a digital copy of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition or Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Android will be able to participate in the Better Together Update Beta for Minecraft. The beta for Android and Windows 10 will be available starting today, and Xbox One will be available soon. Stay tuned to @Minecraft on Twitter for updates about beta availability.

Q: How do I get started with the Better Together Update beta?

A: Windows 10 PC beta testers will need to have downloaded the Xbox Insider app.

1. Go to the Store app on Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC.

2. Search for the Xbox Insider Hub app.

3. Download and install Xbox Insider Hub.

4. Launch the Xbox Insider Hub.

5. Navigate to Insider content > Minecraft Beta.

6. Select Join.

7. Have fun and find bugs!

Beta testers on Android will need to have devices that support Google Play and own a copy of the game purchased through the Google Play Store.

Q: I own Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on disc. Will I be able to participate in the Better Together Update beta?

A: Due to technical limitations, we’re only able to include owners of digital versions.

Q: I own Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on disc. Will I be able to get the Better Together Update for free?

A: Players who own Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on disc and have bought DLC or played for at least five hours in the past 12 months will be able to upgrade to Minecraft for free, for a limited time. If you haven’t played in the past 12 months, you can play five hours now and unlock your upgrade.

Q: Is the Better Together Update coming to all editions?

A: The Better Together Update will release for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile, VR and Windows 10 devices this fall. As long as players own the current Minecraft console edition at the time of the Better Together Update’s release, they will receive the new version of the game for free.

Q: What is going to happen to the old console edition?

A: The old console edition will not be available for new purchase after the full release of Minecraft on Xbox One and Switch. Existing owners will still be able to access and play the old console version and minigames, but those versions will not receive updates after the official release of Minecraft.

Q: I really like the worlds that I’ve built in the old version of Minecraft. Can I play them in Minecraft?

A: Yes, worlds from Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will already be there waiting for you in the play screen, so that you can continue playing. We are still working on exactly how this will work on Nintendo Switch.

Q: Are there infinite worlds in Minecraft?

A: Yes! And, if you play with a world from Minecraft: Xbox One Edition or Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition it will keep generating more world when you get to the old edge of your map.

Q: Is there cloud saving in Minecraft?

A: The Bedrock Engine can save files wherever they would naturally go on each platform.

Q: Will DLC content transfer over to the new version of Minecraft?

A: Our goal is to get all the existing DLC content to be transferable from the old version to the new version. For DLC pieces that are currently out on the old console version and Bedrock, like the Greek Mythology Mash-Up Pack, those entitlements will be available on the new version in Beta. A select list of content will only be available on the platform it was purchased on and not available in multiplayer. Herobrine has been removed.

Q: Since you only have to buy DLC once going forward, how will that work with console-exclusive DLC like the Halo Mash-Up Pack?

A: Platform-specific content will only be available on the platform it was purchased on and not available in multiplayer.

Q: What will happen to mini games and season passes? Will those transfer to the new console edition?

A: Players can still enjoy the existing mini games using the old console edition, and with the new version of Minecraft and community servers they’ll have access to thousands of new mini games to try out for free.

Q: Will the new version be available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch?

A: While we are thrilled to be able to confirm the new version of Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch, we are still in discussions with Sony about PlayStation and have nothing to confirm. We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into this ecosystem as well.

Q: Will players be required to have an Xbox Live Gold account or Nintendo’s paid online service to use Realms or play online with their consoles?

A: We follow the multiplayer policies for the platforms that we are on, so for example, multiplayer on Xbox One will require an Xbox Live Gold account. Players on mobile will still be able to play in multiplayer using a free Xbox Live account.

Q: Are add-ons coming to console editions?

A: Users of the new version of Minecraft on consoles can access worlds that already utilize add-ons or resource packs, can download Marketplace content with add-ons, and can use add-ons on USB drives if the platform allows it.

Q: How close in parity are Bedrock Engine platforms and the PC/Java Edition these days?

A: There will always be small differences between Bedrock and PC/Java. Going forward we plan on releasing updates for PC Java and Bedrock in similar timeframes.

Q: How will the Better Together Update change my experience playing Minecraft?

A: The Better Together Update will bring the latest and most-requested features, and give more players the chance to connect in more ways – via Realms, massive multiplayer servers, and cross-platform play.

Q: Is the Better Together Update safe for kids?

A: The Better Together Update will enable players to discover new content and creations across all devices, as well as the option to find new and like-minded players, as with any multiplayer game. Helping keep kids safe online is a priority for Minecraft, and we provide parental controls across platforms via Xbox Live which help parents choose the content, communication and sharing settings that are right for their families. For many, the most important of these is making sure that your kids are using child accounts which you have control over. To do this on Xbox, you can find out more at http://aka.ms/xblsafety.

Servers

Q: How does server integration into Minecraft and the Minecraft Marketplace work?

A: Players will be able to find and access community servers right from within Minecraft itself using a server browser. The server browser has a list of vetted server partners that they can join with one touch. Not only are we partnering with these servers to offer integrated access directly from Minecraft, but we are also providing them with monetization, store, wallet and login backend support. This takes a lot of administrative and backend work off of their plate so that they can focus on creating and maintaining great online communities.

Q: Why are you adding servers to Minecraft?

A: Minecraft has always been a game about creativity, community, and innovation. Minecraft servers open up the world of Minecraft by offering players access to a ton of minigames made by the community and millions of Minecraft players who come together to socialize and play Minecraft online.

Q: How do prospective server partners go about getting incorporated into the server browser?

A: Server owners who would like to participate in our partner program can apply at http://developer.microsoft.com/Minecraft. While we will have four servers at launch, we are interested in bringing on more partners as time goes on.

Q: Who are servers for?

A: All Minecraft players can use the servers when logged into their Xbox Live account. Minecraft server hosts are required to have registered business identities to apply for the program.

Q: Do I need an Xbox Live account to join a server?

A: Yes, you will need an Xbox Live account in order to access servers from Minecraft. An Xbox Live account is an important part of the player identity that helps players keep track of progress, identity and purchases; and helps server moderators and Minecraft and Xbox support teams keep players safe.

Q: I could already join a server on Minecraft. What does it mean when you say “servers are coming to Minecraft?”

A: For the first time, some servers will be accessible from the game menus without any additional effort from the player – no copying and pasting IP addresses, it’s as simple as clicking a button.

Q: Which servers are included right now?

A: Lifeboat, Cubecraft, InPvP and Mineplex are our first four server partners. We will add them to the Better Together beta as they become available.

Q: Why did you choose these partners instead of others? Will you be adding more?

A: All of the server partners at launch have experience hosting servers for Bedrock Engine platforms, as well as experience managing servers with tens of thousands of concurrent players at any time. Similar to the Minecraft Marketplace, we encourage server hosts to apply at creator.microsoft.com/Minecraft to become a server partner. Also like Marketplace partners, server partners will need to have examples of their work hosting Minecraft servers, be a registered business and, for now, be able to host their own servers.

Q: Can I still access other servers via direct IP connect?

A: Players will still be able to access servers from beyond the servers listed in the server browser from mobile. On consoles, due to platform restrictions, server access is limited to partner servers only.

Q: What does this mean for the future of Minecraft? Will the studio stop updating the game because new gameplay and minigames are available via servers?

A: No, similar to the launch of Minecraft Marketplace, we will still share new content and update the game from a team standpoint, but we’re also implementing a range of options and new creations from the community.

Parental Controls/Safety

Q: Are servers safe for my children to play on?

A: Servers accessed via the in-game listings utilize Xbox Live accounts, which offer parental controls that parents can use to set limits for how their kids can interact online. Our official server partners have also taken steps to ensure online play is safe and comfortable for all ages, including chat filtering, in-game reporting, and live moderation. All server partners agree to enforce the Microsoft and Xbox Live code of conduct (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/legal/codeofconduct) which outlines a broad range of behavior that should be prevented, reported or banned in server experiences.

Q: Are there parental controls that I can use to limit how my child plays/interacts on servers?

A: Yes. Minecraft and server experiences integrate with the Xbox Live account parental controls which have some privacy and parent control settings including:

Parents can turn off chat, which will allow children to join servers but not see or participate in any in-server communication with other players

Parents can limit multiplayer to ‘friends only’ or ‘no multiplayer’ which prevent children from joining servers at all.

Q: What do I do if someone is harassing me? How do I report them?

A: Both servers and Xbox Live offer tools for reporting and blocking other players. You can no longer see chat messages from players you’ve blocked, and they can’t invite you to multiplayer games or join your Realm. When you report a player, depending on the severity of the issue, customer support and enforcement teams can affect a server ban, Minecraft ban or Xbox-wide ban.

Q: Will this change Minecraft’s ESRB game rating?

A: No, our ESRB rating will remain E10+.

Q: Do you require servers to sanitize content to comply with the ESRB rating for Minecraft?

A: 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.

Phew! That’s it for now!

Better Together FAQ

Microsoft says it’s still trying to get Sony on board with Minecraft crossplay

Good luck

While Microsoft already tried to sweeten Sony on the Minecraft crossplay deal before their E3 announcement, it was to no avail. They had already gotten Apple, Google, and Nintendo on board with the concept, but currently market leader Sony seemingly didn’t want anything to do with it.

A new FAQ dealing with the “Better Together” update however informs us that Microsoft is still trying to win them over, stating: “While we are thrilled to be able to confirm the new version of Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch, we are still in discussions with Sony about PlayStation and have nothing to confirm. We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into this ecosystem as well.”

This isn’t necessarily a new development, but the idea that Microsoft is still trying is encouraging. Maybe they’ll cut some under the table deal where Sony gets a bigger taste of Minecraft sales? Who knows, I just hope it happens at some point.

Because then we can start talking Rocket League full crossplay across all platforms and so on. It would be a brave new world with giant playerbases and lengthy support cycles. Pretty much every developer I’ve spoken to over the past few years has wanted it, and so do the players.

Microsoft says it’s still trying to get Sony on board with Minecraft crossplay

‘Minecraft’ PS4 Tips, Tricks Guide: Update 1.55 Comes With Plenty of Fixes; Better Together Update Goes on Beta

The latest patch update for “Minecraft” on PlayStation 4 is now out. Update 1.55 offers plenty of fixes and changes, including a free Glide track for users.

Reuters/Thomas PeterPlayStation 4 users get an update for “Minecraft” but the game is still not open to cross-play with other platforms.

Some of the fixes include removing the bugs affecting tasks like milking a cow, stacking crafted Banners and spawning Wheat, Ladders and Banners, as well as Monsters in the Woodland Mansions. The fixes also correct the unlocking of the Sniper Duel and Camouflage, as well as some displacements and colors.

The full list of the fixes was published on the Minecraft forum. It also outlined the general additions, including the free Glide track, which can be a big help to players’ efficiency during the mini-games.

The updates will appear automatically once a player logs in to the PS4 console. In addition, players can also purchase the Biome Settlers 2 Skin Pack, which will work with update 1.55.

Meanwhile, Sony announced in June that updates for “Minecraft” on the PS4 will continue even as the company opted out of the cross-play service, which goes to beta this week via the Better Together Update. This cross-play service enables players of “Minecraft” on the Xbox, PC and mobile phones with Windows 10 to use their saved games on any of the platforms, except PlayStation 4.

“Minecraft” developer Mojang tried convincing Sony to join the cross-play for years but remained unsuccessful. The developer, however, recently announced securing Nintendo Switch’s interest.

“While we are thrilled to be able to confirm the new version of Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch, we are still in discussions with Sony about PlayStation and have nothing to confirm,” Mojang stated on its official site. “We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into this ecosystem as well.”

During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan said their main reason for opposing and blocking cross-play for the PS4 is to be able to safeguard the kids playing on the platform.

“We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base,” Ryan told Eurogamer. “Minecraft — the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young.”

Ryan added that the cross-play platform would not be able to protect the kids from external influences while playing “Minecraft.”

‘Minecraft’ PS4 Tips, Tricks Guide: Update 1.55 Comes With Plenty of Fixes; Better Together Update Goes on Beta