Microsoft went ahead and gave a two hour sneak peak at the upcoming Minecraft Bedrock Edition for the Switch, which will fold the Nintendo Switch version of the game into a wider Minecraft network across consoles and platforms.
The Minecraft Bedrock Edition was announced last year and offers a cross-platform version of the game that connects each game on each console (sans PlayStation systems) to a united network.
Xbox One, Windows, and mobile users are already enjoying the Bedrock edition, but Microsoft says that the Bedrock update for Switch is “mostly done” and is in the final stretches of development. The Bedrock update will be free for Minecraft owners, so if you already own the Switch version, you can expect the free update when it's done.
Minecraft Bedrock producer Justin Woods says that the team is “really taking [its] time with Switch,” admitting that the “Xbox [version] could have cooked a little longer” before launch.
The Switch version of Bedrock seems to run at 60FPS both docked and undocked, and can apparently display 14 chunks of the game world at a time. The team says that it's “taking a lot of extra care… with trying to make sure that this launch is really smooth, and that the world conversion system works really well for people,” hoping to making migration between editions easier.
The Bedrock update also comes with touchscreen support for the Switch in handheld mode. This means you can touch the screen to manage your inventory, navigate menus, and even type in the chat using the onscreen keyboard.
There is no release date for the Bedrock edition on the Nintendo Switch yet, but Microsoft says that it should be soon.
The Bedrock update was a major new initiative for Minecraft when it was announced at E3 last year. Unfortunately the console rollout caused some consternation among fans as the new Minecraft client removed some of the console interface that made the game a joy to play on the Xbox One.
At the same time, cross-platform play is a big initiative for Microsoft, so if the Switch Bedrock edition can launch without issue, then hopefully Microsoft can continue to pursue this practice of promoting cross-platform play across even more titles.