Minecraft Reveals Super Duper Graphics Pack

Following on from the recently announced “Better Together” update for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition at E3, Mojang have now revealed their next DLC in the form of a graphics pack, the “Super Duper Graphics Pack”. They do point out that this upgrade is optional, so if you like things the way they are, you don’t need to change it.

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This Fall, along with a free update that will allow Minecraft to be played with 4k graphics, the “Super Duper Graphics Pack” will improve a whole bunch of aspects of your game. Some of these include – “features like dynamic shadows, lighting that streams through fog, movement in leaves and grass, new textures for mobs and villagers, directional lighting, edge highlighting and more”. It all sounds very impressive, and to show it off a little bit more, we’ve got a trailer to share with you too.

The “Super Duper Graphics Pack” will be arriving, along with the 4k update, this Fall. It will be available for Xbox One, Xbox One X and Windows 10, with Mojang pointing out that this pack will be “performing best on high-end PCs and the Xbox One X”.

Minecraft Reveals Super Duper Graphics Pack

Minecraft Will Feature Cross Platform Online Play

Minecraft is a global phenomenon. Nowadays it’s rare to find a gamer unfamiliar with the title itself. What originally started off on PC has expanded to nearly every device. Consoles, mobile — some gamers can even play it on their streaming devices.

Minecraft Holiday Update 2

Mojang made its presence felt at E3 2017. Aside from the Xbox One X 4K update, big news was revealed for fans of the series. Gamers can soon play Minecraft with friends on nearly every platform thanks to new servers. These servers will support Xbox One, PC, Switch, VR, and mobile. Check out the update reveal below.

The “Better Together” update is set to drop this summer.

Minecraft Will Feature Cross Platform Online Play

Minecraft Cross Play and 4K Update

It was just announced at Microsoft’s E3 conference that Minecraft will become a cross play title. This means that gamers will be able to play with their friends across multiple platforms including Windows 10, VR, and console. This functionality comes with massive servers and a community marketplace in the “Better Together Update”.

The “Super Duper Graphics Pack” will also be available for the game this fall. This update is a 4K visual upgrade for the Xbox One X. Check out the trailer for it below.

Both of these updates will be coming later this year, so prepare for cross play and some blocks that are about to look a whole lot better.

Minecraft Cross Play and 4K Update

Mojang Discuss Minecraft Better Together Update At E3

One of the big announcements for Minecraft this E3 was that nearly all versions of the game — Playstation consoles aside unfortunately due to a decision on Sony’s end — will be able to play with each other following the game’s upcoming “Better Together” update.

minecraft 1

Following on from that announcement, Jens and Saxs from Mojang discuss the update a little bit more with Julia Hardy.

The “Better Together” update as well as the 4K update announced at the same time should both be coming to Minecraft later this year.

Mojang Discuss Minecraft Better Together Update At E3

What Happens When a Minecraft-Playing YouTube Star Goes on Tour

If you play Minecraft—or are the parent of an offspring who plays Minecraft–then you probably know that the international YouTube Minecraft superstar known as Dan TDM is on tour.

Dan TDM (TDM stands for “the diamond minecart,” kind of an inside joke among Dan and his 17.9 million subscribers) rose to fame by making videos of his Minecraft-playing adventures. His face appears in the corner of the screen as he narrates, providing tips and advice, but mostly entertainment. The man is a delight, even if you are the kind of parent who swears you couldn’t be entertained by a twenty-something English guy narrating a video game.

You see, Dan TDM is kind of a genius. Not only has he managed to rack up 10 billion views of him playing Minecraft, but also he has now figured out how to turn his video persona into a world tour, for which he has sold more than 85,000 tickets including 32 sold-out shows in the U.K., four at the Sydney Opera House, and 21 (and counting) in the United States. But you might have questions. The first of which is most assuredly, What does Dan TDM do onstage? Does he just play Minecraft?

“I’d say the top comment I get when I see people after the show, parents, they’re like, ‘We don’t know what to expect,'” Dan told PopularMechanics.com. “We’ve sold this idea of the live show on pretty much nothing, really—they know that I’m going to be there, but they don’t know what I’m going to do. But then hopefully, we do blow them away with this really cool show that does have gaming within it, but involves everyone in a much more personal experience. Which was my main goal: I wanted to take that one limitation about my videos, which is there’s always a screen between me and my audience.”

Having seen—and thoroughly enjoyed—the show, we are here to answer that and a few other questions about the tour, which runs through July 23 in Seattle.

What does Dan TDM do onstage? Does he just play Minecraft?

No. He doesn’t play Minecraft at all, actually. What sets his Minecraft YouTubing apart is his ability to create characters and tell stories, and he brings this creativity to life on the stage.

Will adults find him funny?

Yes, he’s funny, in a charming, self-deprecating, British way.

Is there merchandise for sale?

Ohh, yes. T-shirts, posters, Dan’s book, hats, stuffed pugs (Dan has two, who figure prominently in his videos), and plenty more.

Can the kids meet him?

Yes. At most shows, Dan does a meet-and-greet for a couple hundred fans before the show. The tickets for this are $95 on top of the regular ticket price, and you need to arrive several hours before the show. It takes a while. But that’s because Dan TDM is magic with kids. He doesn’t rush. He listens to them. He talks to them. He graciously accepts their gifts. He poses for photos, signs whatever they have, high-fives them. Buy the ticket. Stand and wait. Smile.

How long is the show?

About two hours, including an intermission.

Are there other people on stage, or just Dan TDM?

He is not the only human in the show. We’ll leave it at that. No spoilers.

Doesn’t all of this just encourage kids to play video games?

Not really, no. There’s a plot to the stage story, and it has to do with busting out of the virtual world into the real world. Dan TDM genuinely entertaining, he encourages kids to approach Minecraft with originality and a sense of adventure, and he seems intent on making kids feel good about who they are. In the show, he talks about his shyness as a child, and now here he is, standing in front of 5,000 people, hopping around telling stories, making people laugh and clap and have a truly enjoyable evening.

What Happens When a Minecraft-Playing YouTube Star Goes on Tour

‘Minecraft’ ‘Better Together’ Update Bringing Stained Glass, Books, and Banners

Most of you probably know that the Minecraft: Pocket Edition [$6.99] Better Together update will add cross-platform servers and graphical upgrades to the game, but it will also add plenty of other fun features as it strives for parity between versions. Three of those features that will be added to the game are stained glass, books, and banners, with the first two being the most fun of the three. Banners are crafted from wool, can be placed either on the ground or on walls, and they make for fun decorations when you’re making medieval-themed builds. Books and quills let you create books that you can add text to and are great for adventure maps.

 

The most exciting feature though is by far stained glass, decorative variants of regular glass blocks that let you create fantastic buildings. They come with a ton of different colors and also let you change Beacon colors. I’m pretty sure builders will be very excited for this one. What other features are you hoping to see in the Better Together update?

‘Minecraft’ ‘Better Together’ Update Bringing Stained Glass, Books, and Banners

Minecraft to get ‘super duper graphics’ making it look more realistic than ever before

Minecraft, although very popular, has been said to fall short when it comes to graphics – until now.

The video game is set to release the ‘Better Together Update’ that enables users to play with others in the game and lets the game’s designers give it ‘a new lick of paint’.

Users will soon experience 4K HDR graphics and be given access to the ‘Super Duper Graphics Pack’, which adds stunning effects to scenes such as sparkles on rippling water and dynamic shadows.

Java Edition players have long had the ability to add a modern look to Minecraft by fiddling around with codes, but now the average gamer will soon have the same experience with the new 4K HDR graphics, improved lighting, shadows, water effects and more.

‘We’re also a little something extra, which we’re humbly naming the Super Duper Graphics Pack,’ Marsh Davies is the creative communications manager at Monjan AB, the creator of Minecraft, shared in a blog post.

‘This optional DLC pack is crammed full of excessive visual razzmatazz: light will filter in shimmering rays through cotton clouds, dappling the ground beneath fluttering foliage, and sparkling on the rippling waters. We have dynamic shadows!’

‘Directional lighting! Edge highlighting! Probably loads of other kinds of lighting I don’t understand!’

Davies did however note that the new graphics and effects are still a work in progress, ‘so don’t be surprised if textures or effects change – and get even super duperer – before release.’

The pack will be released on Xbox One and Windows 10, performing best on high-end PCs and Project Scorpio.

However, the Better Together update will not apply to the PlayStation 4, or PS4 Pro, version of Minecraft right away.

Minecraft did release a a marketplace this month, which showcases curated content for Pocket and Windows 10 players.

The digital storefront will let users purchase items like maps, textures and skins that range from $1 to $10 per – but users will first have to by a new form of currency.

The optional DLC pack is crammed full of excessive visual razzmatazz: light will filter in shimmering rays through cotton clouds, dappling the ground beneath fluttering foliage, and sparkling on the rippling waters (left old graphics, right updated graphics)

The optional DLC pack is crammed full of excessive visual razzmatazz: light will filter in shimmering rays through cotton clouds, dappling the ground beneath fluttering foliage, and sparkling on the rippling waters (left old graphics, right updated graphics)

The new graphics (right) and effects are still a work in progress, ‘so don't be surprised if textures or effects change - and get even super duperer - before release (left is older graphics)

The new graphics (right) and effects are still a work in progress, ‘so don’t be surprised if textures or effects change – and get even super duperer – before release (left is older graphics)

Microsoft added Minecraft Coins to the platform that will live in a user’s Microsoft Xbox Live virtual wallet and is accessible for marketplace purchases on any platform. 

The new additions are set to make their way into the video game come spring.

Although the upgrade benefits players, it is also an opportunity for businesses to sell their own original content, which will be available to ‘tens of millions’ of players, Bloomberg reported.

Nine businesses have teamed up with Minecraft to sell feature packs – and they will receive also about 70 percent of the total in-app purchase, where Minecraft will only keep 30 percent.

The pack will be released on Xbox One and Windows 10, performing best on high-end PCs and Project Scorpio (left is old graphics, right is updated graphics) 

The pack will be released on Xbox One and Windows 10, performing best on high-end PCs and Project Scorpio (left is old graphics, right is updated graphics)

However, the Better Together update will not apply to the PlayStation 4, or PS4 Pro, version of Minecraft right away (pictured is a scene with the updated graphics)

However, the Better Together update will not apply to the PlayStation 4, or PS4 Pro, version of Minecraft right away (pictured is a scene with the updated graphics)

‘We’ve partnered with heroic ‘crafters well-known to the community to build up a launch catalog of amazing adventure maps, texture packs, minigames and more,’ Minecraft wrote in an announcement.

‘Noxcrew, BlockWorks, Qwertyuiop The Pie, Blockception, Sphax, Eneija Silverleaf, Imagiverse, Polymaps and Razzleberry Fox are the folk on board at launch, but we’re opening up submissions to anyone with a registered business.’

Minecraft already offers its players a store to make purchases, but the new marketplace will ‘open up an entirely new business model for independent creative’.

Minecraft did release a a marketplace this month, which showcases curated content for Pocket and Windows 10 players. The digital storefront will let users purchase items like maps, textures and skins that range from $1 to $10 per - but users will first have to by a new form of currency 

Minecraft did release a a marketplace this month, which showcases curated content for Pocket and Windows 10 players. The digital storefront will let users purchase items like maps, textures and skins that range from $1 to $10 per – but users will first have to by a new form of currency

Altogether, Mincraft has sold a whopping 121 million copies to players all over the globe and boasts 55 million unique monthly users, according to figures from Microsoft – giving third party developers a chance at expanding their reach.

The new features will also help Minecraft stepped into the world of recurring revenue.

Microsof added Minecraft Coins to the platform that will live in a user's Microsoft Xbox Live virtual wallet and is accessible for marketplace purchases on any platform

Microsof added Minecraft Coins to the platform that will live in a user’s Microsoft Xbox Live virtual wallet and is accessible for marketplace purchases on any platform

‘With Minecraft Coins, Microsoft is following both Amazon and Facebook into having its own virtual currency for in-app and content purchasing,’ Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight, told Bloomberg.

‘This could be very relevant for Minecraft’s substantial base of younger users, who are unable to attach a credit card to their account.’

Altogether, Mincraft has sold a whopping 121 million copies to players all over the globe and boasts 55 million unique monthly users, according to figures from Microsoft - giving third party developers a chance at expanding their reach 

Altogether, Mincraft has sold a whopping 121 million copies to players all over the globe and boasts 55 million unique monthly users, according to figures from Microsoft – giving third party developers a chance at expanding their reach

‘But, by using the Minecraft brand for the currency, Microsoft appears to see this as a self-contained move, rather than the start of something larger.’

Minecraft noted that it will launch its public beta on Android in mid-April, which will focus on testing the new currency – users will ‘not see any creator content in the beta’.

Minecraft to get ‘super duper graphics’ making it look more realistic than ever before

‘Minecraft: Switch Edition’: Super Duper Graphics Pack will also release on Nintendo’s console

Minecraft is about to start looking a whole lot better with the introduction of the Super Duper Graphics Pack, originally introduced during E3 2017. Previously it was announced for those who play Minecraft on Xbox One and on PC, but now the graphics pack is actually coming to the Nintendo Switch as well, according to an interview at Kotaku.

Rendering lead Cameron Egbert let the cat out of the bag: “It will be anywhere that you can play Minecraft in the new version. It will improve any screen on which you play, but the best experience will be on Xbox One X.”

Thanks to the “Better Together” initiative from Microsoft, Minecraft is looking to invite all players on various platforms to play together. This includes bringing Switch players onboard as with the upcoming Super Duper Graphics Pack, which makes the blocky look a whole lot more eye-popping.

The update will offer a brand new vision of Minecraft with 4K HDR graphics, improved lighting, water effects, shadows and a whole other smattering of visual improvements. It’s also all coming for free.

The introductory video shows off a good chunk of what to expect from the update, and it looks nearly like a different game. Unfortunately there isn’t a concrete release date just yet. You can expect to see it gracing a Minecraft player’s screen near you this fall.

‘Minecraft: Switch Edition’: Super Duper Graphics Pack will also release on Nintendo’s console

Power Rangers: Becky G On What The Cast Wants For The Green Ranger

Power Rangers fans got a welcome surprise after the credits rolled, and the cast has some thoughts on the tease as well.

Yellow Ranger Becky Gomez spoke to The Mary Sue alongside original Pink Ranger actress Amy Jo Johnson, and one of the topics that came up was the Green Ranger. Tommy Oliver is referenced in the after credits scene but doesn’t show up just yet. Becky has some ideas for the popular Ranger, saying “[Me and my castmates] talk about this all the time. We agree that it should be a girl. I think it would be so cool because we have yet to see that. Obviously, Power Rangers has been around for a very long time, but I feel like it’d be so dope if she was a chick.”

In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the role was played by Jason David Frank, who has gone on to reprise the role a few different times. In the reboot the role is originally played by Elizabeth Banks, becoming Rita Repulsa after she betrays the other Rangers. It would certainly be a fresh take on the character, but right now most just hope the film gets a sequel at all. Hopefully, after the film debuts in the Chinese market, that forecast won’t look as cloudy.

The action-packed, coming of age feature film Saban’s Power Rangers will morph onto Digital HD June 13 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD and On Demand June 27 from Lionsgate. As part of the 24-year-old global phenomenon and based on the five Rangers from the original TV series, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,”, the reimagined movie features a modern generation of Rangers including Dacre Montgomery (TV’s “Stranger Things”) as Jason the Red Ranger, Naomi Scott (The 33) as Kimberly the Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Billy the Blue Ranger, Ludi Lin (Monster Hunt) as Zack the Black Ranger, and Becky G. (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) as Trini the Yellow Ranger, as they attempt to stop the evil and unpredictable Rita Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games Franchise) from destroying their city…and ultimately the world. Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as Zordon, and Bill Hader (Finding Dory) as Alpha 5 train the Rangers to morph and master their powers as a united team.

The Saban’s Power Rangers DVD will include exclusive audio commentary with director Dean Israelite and writer John Gatins, and deleted/alternate/extended scenes and outtakes. Saban’s Power Rangers will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

Story by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless and Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney. Screenplay by John Gatins. Directed by Dean Israelite.

Power Rangers: Becky G On What The Cast Wants For The Green Ranger

New Transformers: The Last Knight Steelbane Poster Revealed

Transformers: The Last Knight will take fans through a revised history of Medieval times, in a story that will offer greater explanation of the Transformers’ origins and connections to Earth.

There have been several great mysteries that have come out of the Transformers 5 promotional campaign – including the “secret history” between Earth and Cybertron, how Stonehenge figures into the mix, and what turns Optimus Prime evil in the first place. Now, however, we can put at least question to rest with an answer: Who is the titular “Last Knight?” 

Thanks to a new Transformers 5 official image, and some tie-in merchandise, fans can now see the new Transformers character known as The Last Knight for themselves.

As you can see in the new Transformers 5 poster, this is the titular Last Knight in the film: A Cybertronian warrior who apparently helped affect the course of human development during the Medieval era.

As a Transformer, Steelbane bears resemblance to an armored Medieval knight (a battle-worn knight, at that), and from the designs of his helmet, it looks like he might be a Prime.

As for his transformation form: thanks to some tie-in toy merchandise, we know exactly what Steelbane will be in his transformed state.

As you can see from the this tie-in toy line for Transformers: The Last Knight, Steelbane will be a dragon in his transformed state. The big guy certainly looks better (and cleaner) in his toy form, suggesting that in the movie, he will be a white or light gray color, rather than the rusted armor look he has in the poster.

Fans actually got to see Steelbane in his dragon form: The metallic dragon is one of the first images we saw in the very first teaser trailer for The Last Knight.

No telling how Steelbane connects to the Transformers’ creators, or Optimus Prime’s storyline in this new installment, but along with new characters like Hot Rod, it seems fans of the franchise are going to get some exciting new Transformers to play with.

New Transformers: The Last Knight Steelbane Poster Revealed

Transformers Bumblebee Prequel Will Return to G1 ‘Heritage’

ransformers: The Last Knight is about to hit theaters, but plans for the franchise go well beyond Michael Bay latest (and final) installment of the franchise.

There are already story plans for Transformers 6 & 7 in place; there’s a Bumblebee spinoff movie that will be set in the 1980s, and there’s even another Transformers spinoff that could take place in ancient Rome. However, according to a new report, Transformers 6 is still trying to find a director to replace Michael Bay.

While fans wait to see what will happen with the main Transformers films, details about the Bumblebee spinoff are starting to come to light. The Last Knight will reportedly open the door much wider for Bumblebee as a character, revealing his secret history and origin. The spinoff film will presumably go deeper into that history, with the setting in Transformers cartoon’s classic “G1 Era” of the ’80s.

According to Transformers franchise producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (via Collider), the Bumblebee movie will be a lot like another famous movie about a giant robot:

“I know we’re doing a spinoff first in the Bumblebee movie, and that is a very distinctive departure from what you’ve been seeing so far…it reminds me a little bit of Iron Giant years ago when I did that movie at Warner Bros. It just reminds me a little bit of that where it was very contained and yet it didn’t feel small.”

However, the part Transformers fans will probably like the most, is when di Bonaventura invoked the sacred name of Transformers G1:

“The objective of that movie is to develop more time with less robots in a way, and to go back to 1985 and go back to sort of the original heritage if you would of the Transformers. G1.”

The terms “G1” and more time with less robots” are going to be music to the ears of so many viewers who don’t like the approach Michael Bay took with the movie franchise. That joy will hopefully grow much bigger, once we know who will direct this throwback chapter of the franchise.

Transformers 5 Bumblebee WWII 2

Who would you like to see direct the Bumblebee spinoff? While we discuss that question, Transformers: The Last Knight is slowly creeping up the fan anticipation ratings, with a 3.91/5 ranking. Let us know how excited you are for the movie by ranking it below!

Transformers: The Last Knight’s voice cast includes Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, John Goodman as Hound, and John DiMaggio as Crosshairs. Other transformers appearing the film include Bumblebee, Drift, Hot Rod, Cogman, Canopy, Sqweeks, Grimlock, Megatron, Barricade, Onslaught, Hooligan, and Mohawk.

Transformers: The Last Knight opens in movie theaters on June 21, 2017.

Transformers Bumblebee Prequel Will Return to G1 ‘Heritage’

Michael Bay Wants A R-Rated Transformers Flick

The Transformers franchise is five films in, but the explosive series doesn’t seem ready to call it quits just yet. Next week, the series will see its new film Transformers: The Last Knight bust into theaters, and the feature will mark director Michael Bay’s final hurrah with the series. Over the years, the action-centric director has had the chance to explore unmarked territory with the Hasbro franchise. And, now, Bay admits he would like to see the Transformers get a R-rated installment.

During a recent interview with Fandango, Bay opened up about his final outing with Transformers, and it was there the director said he’d love a grittier take.

“I would love that,” Bay admitted. “I’ve always said that I think that would be a great idea. I don’t know if Hasbro would ever have it work, but I think it would be a great idea.”

For older fans, the idea of a R-rated Transformers flick is certainly interesting. The first film of the series premiered back in 2007, leaving Transformers to mark its tenth anniversary this year. Youngers fans who sat in for the original Transformers film are old enough now to buy into a restricted film based on the autobots. Much like Logan, Transformers could bank on in on an aging audience in the near future if the right story presented itself.

In the past, Bay said he has been given a R-rated pitch for Transformers. The director told Collider he was pitched a dark take for the spinoff Bumblebee prequel that is currently in development.

“You know, yeah, that would be fun,” Bay said about the R-rated take. “There’s actually one idea that would be really fun R rated, with Bumblebee. I don’t wanna say, but it would be really fun. Very Quentin [Tarantino], you know.”

In Transformers: The Last Knight, humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it’s up to the unlikely alliance of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world.

Transformers: The Last Knight is directed by Michael Bay. The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci reprising their roles from Transformers: Age of Extinction, with Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro reprising roles from the first three Transformers movies.

Transformers: The Last Knight’s voice cast includes Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, John Goodman as Hound, and John DiMaggio as Crosshairs. Other transformers appearing the film include Bumblebee, Drift, Hot Rod, Cogman, Canopy, Sqweeks, Grimlock, Megatron, Barricade, Onslaught, Hooligan, and Mohawk.

Transformers 5

Transformers: The Last Knight opens in theaters on June 21, 2017.

Michael Bay Wants A R-Rated Transformers Flick

Minecraft is now available for cross-play on any device

Minecraft is now available for cross-play on any device

With the launch of Microsoft’s new Xbox One X gamers got an update on the latest Minecraft news — chiefly that Minecraft is now available across any device.

As part of the company’s big show at E3 Microsoft talked about the latest Minecraft update.

The Better Together Update” unifies console, mobile and Windows 10 versions of the game.

The new update also features better graphics and cross-platform support to let Windows 10 and mobile Minecraft players play the game together.

As part of the update, Minecraft is ditching any special branding associated with Minecraft for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile games or VR — they’ll all just be known as “Minecraft”. There’s a ‘Minecraft: Java Edition’, which is the original PC game (still supported).

The unified branding is designed to let buyers know they’re all getting the same game, that they can play with anyone no matter what device they’re using, the company said.

Supported devices for unified game play include:

  • Windows 10
  • iOS
  • Android
  • XBox One
  • Nintendo’s Switch

If players own Minecraft for mobile or VR, they’ll get an update for the summer. Minecraft for Xbox One or Nintendo Switch owners will get a new update for free, and the existing worlds that gamers have created are going to be available on the new game.

The new update also means that any downloadable content will be available across all devices. So a pack bought on mobile will also be available on Xbox and Windows 10 editions too.

As an additional added perk, Minecraft is throwing in a server browser to its latest update. Launching with four servers, Lifeboat, Mineplex, InPVP and Cubecraft — which lets players join public servers that have monthly users numbering in the millions according to the company.

It’s different from Minecraft Realms, which are privately cloud-hosted servers available for smaller groups.

Finally, there’s a new graphics pack for 4K viewing — better lighting, shadows, and water effects, the company said.

Minecraft is now available for cross-play on any device

 

Microsoft At E3: The Xbox One X, ‘Minecraft,’ and other highlights

For years, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been an event that caters to trade professionals, but this year the showcase in Los Angeles was open to the public for the first time. Fans who were able to snatch up tickets got an inside glimpse of a Disneyland for gaming.

For those who were unable to go, here are highlights coming out of E3 over the past few days:

Microsoft had the biggest announcement, as the tech giant officially revealed the newest member of its console family — the Xbox One X. It’s not exactly the fourth generation of the device; it’s more of an upgrade to the existing systems. It’s a console built for 4K televisions with HDR (high dynamic range), the bleeding-edge screens of today.

HDR displays more colors than predecessors, upwards of a billion at last count. That gives images a more realistic, rounder look. And that’s what made games pop off Microsoft’s screen, with BioWare’s “Anthem” and Turn 10’s “Forza Motorsports 7” turning heads.

These games show off the potential of the Xbox One X, but to actually enjoy the technology, players may have to sell their first-born. A 4K TV with HDR costs more than $700, and the Xbox One X costs $499. It’s a pricey proposition, but an investment in technology that is supposed to hold up through five years from now and perhaps beyond.

Sony’s briefing focused on games and highlighted the company’s dominance. The PlayStation is indeed home to some of the best software on the planet, a fact highlighted by its three tentpole games for the upcoming year: “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy,” “Days Gone” and “Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds,” an expansion of possibly the best new IP this year.

What’s interesting is that two of Sony’s major releases, and a few others, focus on stronger female characters. Gone are the days of the old sexualized Lara Croft and male-only avatars. Character’s such as Aloy from “Horizon Zero Dawn” and Chloe Frazer from “Uncharted” are often more complex and daring than any female characters in the past.

There’s even diversity, with Janina Gavankar, an actress of Indian descent, playing the lead role of Iden Versio in the single-player mode of “Star Wars Battlefront II.” When it comes to games with customizable avatars, “Far Cry 5” and “Forza Horizon 7” include female options, as well as males.

Sony’s event also spotlighted a bright future, headlined by what’s likely to be the best “Spider-Man” game ever made. A new “God of War” and “Monster Hunter World” look like legitimate rebirths of long-running franchises. The wait for these games will be excruciating; some won’t see the light of day until 2018.

Not to be outdone, Nintendo unveiled big news, too. Riding the wave of the successful Nintendo Switch launch, the venerable video game company announced more support for the console.

Nintendo has leaned heavily on its portfolio of beloved franchises, and some of its major announcements here focused on those. The biggest news was the resurrection of “Metroid.” Samus Aran is returning in a big way with “Metroid Prime 4” on the Nintendo Switch and a remade version of “Metroid 2,” a title that was originally released for the Game Boy, on the Nintendo 3DS.

Also announced was a new “Pokemon” for the Nintendo Switch, which could further boost the console’s success. That news, along with stronger support from third-party developers such as Ubisoft and Psyonix (creator of “Rocket League”) bode well for Nintendo.

But the game carrying E3 for the company was “Super Mario Odyssey.” Coming later this year, Mario’s latest adventure features a magical hat called Cappy, which can take over enemies and objects. If Mario throws it on a frog, he becomes the frog. If he tosses it atop a Bullet Bill, he becomes that character, flying through the air. Cappy seems to be the main mechanic for the game, opening up interesting possibilities and a fresh take on the “Mario” franchise.

Microsoft At E3: The Xbox One X, ‘Minecraft,’ and other highlights

$200 Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle Available Now

Calling all blockbusters: for a short time, this Xbox One S Minecraft bundle is on sale for $200 at Ebay.

If you’re looking for a late father’s day gift that’s friendly for the kiddos or just because, right now is the right time to grab it. This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on a new Xbox One S yet, so snag it before it sells out. Online consumer electronic store Newegg is running the sale. Did we mention there’s free shipping too?

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The $50 price cuts to the Xbox One consoles prior to the Xbox One X reveal just ended yesterday; this sale does not seem related.

The Xbox One S is the second iteration of the Xbox One console. It’s 40 percent smaller, has 4K media output, and HDR gaming and movies. It’s intended for the casual gamer who prefers a little more portability and finer details in their games than the original Xbox One could offer. Make sure to check out our review here.

The recently announced Xbox One X isn’t for the average joe however; it’s a beastly machine meant for the most hardcore of gamers. For more on that iteration of the Xbox One, head on over here.

$200 Xbox One S Minecraft Bundle Available Now

Minecraft UPDATE – Nintendo Switch players will now NEED Xbox Live login

Switch owners will soon be able to play with Minecraft fans on the Xbox One and PC, but to do so will have to log into Xbox Live to play online.

It is part of the brand new push to unify players across all consoles, but PS4 and PS4 Pro players will not be part of the cross-platform play.

The Minecraft news was revealed by Phil Spencer, the Head of Xbox, during an interview with Giant Bomb.

When talking about cross-platform play and how players will login, Spencer said: “It’s an Xbox Live account; that’s our gaming social network.

Minecraft UPDATE – Nintendo Switch players will now NEED Xbox Live login

Nintendo E3 2017: Minecraft On Switch Requires An Xbox Live Log-In

Minecraft is getting a big new update soon that unifies it across most platforms (except for PlayStation devices). As a result, Minecraft players on Nintendo Switch will be able to play with those on Xbox One or PC. One of the interesting consequences of this new, unified platform is that Nintendo Switch owners will have to log into Xbox Live to play the game online.

Head of Xbox confirmed the news today while speaking on the Giant Bomb E3 2017 live show. In a discussion about cross-platform play, Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann asked about logging in, and Spencer replied that it’ll be the same system across all devices. “It’s an Xbox Live account; that’s our gaming social network,” he said.

“We use Xbox Live as the way to make sure we know who our players are, controls around parental controls and other things that we put into our platform are there. And as you’re buying things in Minecraft, you want to make sure you have them available on other platforms, so we have to know who you are. If you have a realm that you’ve created on the PC and you want to get to it on the Switch, we have to have an identity system and we just use Xbox Live.”

Gerstmann also asked if players will be able to earn Achievements. “I don’t know yet,” he replied. “I’m guessing no. And this is a collaborative relationship between Nintendo and I; they don’t have Achievements on their platform. If they want us to, I would love to be able to do it… The relationship with Nintendo is incredibly strong. We obviously did the Mario mash-up pack into Minecraft; that doesn’t happen that often.”

During the livestream, Spencer also discussed how he has played 700 hours of Destiny. You can check out more news from Microsoft from E3 2017 here, and read more about updates coming to Minecraft here. Keep checking GameSpot’s E3 2017 hub; the conference isn’t done yet, and there’s still more news and impressions coming tomorrow.

Nintendo E3 2017: Minecraft On Switch Requires An Xbox Live Log-In

Minecraft 4K graphics upgrade is as unnecessary as an HDR Mona Lisa

Have you played Minecraft? Sorry. Yes. Of course you’ve played Minecraft – it’s the videogame equivalent of asking if you’ve ever played Tic-Tac-Toe or hopscotch. It’s this gaming generation’s most ubiquitous title, available (initially freely) on everything from PCs to low-end smartphones to the newly announced Xbox One X. It took an age, but Microsoft even eventually saw fit to bring it to its own mobile OS, hoping the Minecraft brand’s licence to print money would rub off on the flailing smartphone platform.

For the hardcore fan (of which they’re many – the game’s been bought more than 100 million times, and inspired Microsoft to buy the game outright for $2.5 billion), they’re probably seeing Minecraft blocks in their sleep, playing the game religiously and spending almost as much time trawling the pages of YouTubers and Twitch streamers for the latest news and builds in the game.

It’s easy to see what’s made Minecraft so popular, an alchemical mix of simplicity and creativity. Gamers are given free reign to use its block-based building system to create essentially any structure they can think of, from simple shacks to complex minecart systems and even a working in-game smartphone.

Although it’s since spawned many imitators over the course of its eight-year life, it was massively refreshing upon release, a taste of what an infinite digital LEGO box could be like – other brick-based games are available.

Block rocking beats

Its simplicity is key. Limiting the game world to blocky objects not only meant it could run on a huge number of devices without taxing a high-powered GPU, it also aesthetically separated it from the pack.

Bold, colorful and far removed from the grim-dark shooters that can dominate the gaming landscape, you could go as far as using the so often-misappropriated description and apply it to the Minecraft style: it was, it is, iconic.

Which makes Microsoft’s E3 Minecraft announcement of a new 4K-optimised ‘Super Duper Graphics Pack’ so groan-worthy. Designed to spruce up the Minecraft visuals in a way that takes advantage of the growing graphical grunt of 4K gaming systems (including, of course, Microsoft’s own Xbox One X) it gives Minecraft a significant makeover.

“Dynamic shadows! Directional lighting! Edge highlighting!” boasts the Minecraft blog, all coming as a free update to the game in the Fall of this year.

This all seems to be missing the point. It’s never been about the polygon count. It’s never been about the fidelity of the shadows, or the number of visible blades of grass. Minecraft’s appeal and its charm lay in its lo-fi chic.

You’re not drawn in by what the game presents to you (at least visually), but what you can present to the game through your creations. The simpler the palette, the more amazingly unexpected the eventual culmination of your greatest Minecraft works.

Mona Lisa overdrive

From humble beginnings come great achievements, and that simple original Minecraft aesthetic points to the promise of your imagination, rather than how many ones and zeroes are being pushed under the hood of your machine.

It’s like saying you’re going to give the Mona Lisa an HDR makeover –  wholly inappropriate, not simply because it’s anachronistic, but also because it undermines the quality of the original work. Or, to use a more recent example, take the Star Wars: Special Edition remasters – tweak a beloved work too much, and you risk diluting the homebrewed charm of the original.

A few still shots of the new update.

In Microsoft’s defence, it does state that this in an optional look, “just one aesthetic vision for Minecraft – not THE vision for Minecraft,” according to Marsh Davies, Minecraft’s Creative communications manager.

“Our beloved pixels are going nowhere – and we’re thinking about ways to give you more choice over your game’s look in the future.”

And Microsoft did make one undeniably positive Minecraft announcement at E3 – the chance for cross-platform play for the game, expanding the ways gamers can play together, no matter what console they own, prefer or can afford.

Minecraft is a long play for Microsoft, with arms reaching out to education and design sectors as well as gamers. So it must evolve for it to survive long term. But while that’s being supported by smart moves like cross platform play, the Super Duper Graphics Pack suggests it may be losing sight of what makes Minecraft so special in the first place.

  • E3 is the world’s largest exhibition for the games industry, stuffed full of the latest and greatest games, consoles, and gaming hardware. TechRadar is reporting live from Los Angeles all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated E3 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about the next year in gaming.

Minecraft 4K graphics upgrade is as unnecessary as an HDR Mona Lisa

How The Mummy Sets Up The ‘Monster Avengers’ of Dark Universe

The Mummy marks the official launch of Universal’s “Dark Universe” of monsters, borrowing from the shared universe models of Suicide Squad and The Avengers. Ever since Marvel Studios concluded Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by bringing together various superheroes from solo franchises to form The Avengers – and earning more than $1 billion at the box office – the shared universe model has grown increasingly popular in Hollywood. While no other studio or franchise has necessarily copied the model laid out by Marvel Studios (introducing solo characters, then bringing them together for a team-up), Warner Bros. has been building its DC Extended Universe and Fox has continued to expand their X-Men universe with spinoffs from its the main series.

However, the idea of a shared universe has expanded beyond superhero movies. After Transformers: Age of Extinction wasn’t as well-received as previous installments of Paramount’s Robots in Disguise series, the studio announced they were turning the Transformers franchise into a cinematic universe. Paramount assembled a writer’s room to come up with a host of stories, which are being turned into Transformers: The Last Knight and the solo Bumblebee movie. Another high-profile shared universe that’s been in the works for a few years is Universal’s world of classic movie monsters, which was recently officially unveiled as the studio’s Dark Universe.

Although it was thought the Dark Universe would launch with Dracula Untold in 2014, in the wake of that film’s disappointing reviews and box office earnings, Universal announced Luke Evans’ iconic vampire would not be part of the studio’s budding shared universe. Instead, Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy officially launches the Dark Universe that will continue with Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein – the star of which has yet to be cast, though Angelina Jolie was being eyed for the role – and eventually include films for Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Johnny Depp’s Invisible Man, and Javier Bardem’s Frankenstein’s Monster. The Dark Universe will also add Van Helsing, The Wolf Man, and Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Kurtzman revealed there are plans to bring in the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera in coming years.

Tom Cruise in The Mummy How The Mummy Sets Up The Monster Avengers of Dark Universe

In terms of specifically how The Mummy sets up the larger Dark Universe, Kurtzman’s film introduces Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll (as well as his alter-ego Mr. Eddie Hyde) and the organization he heads called Prodigium, which is positioned to be the common thread among all the shared universe installments. Though the specifics of the private organization are unclear, Dr. Jekyll lays out their intentions to research, hunt, and eradicate evil from the world. Jekyll even goes into a theory that evil itself is a pathogen and, if that’s the case, it must have a cure – which, of course, ties into his own condition.

The biggest Dark Universe tease in The Mummy, however, arrives in the final scenes. After Tom Cruise’s Nick Morton willingly accepts the Egyptian god of death, Set, into himself, he kills the mummified Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) – who had previously been positioned as the Dark Universe’s Mummy character – and essentially becomes Universal’s modern Mummy. Then, in a final voiceover conversation between Jekyll and Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), they discuss that Cruise’s character is now half man, half monster, with Nick forced to constantly battle the evil Set within himself. And, as Jekyll teases, one day Prodigium may need a monster to fight another monster.

The Mummy’s ending – particularly Jekyll commenting that Prodigium will need Cruise’s new Mummy to battle a force of evil later on – is strikingly similar to S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury’s recruitment speech to Tony Stark in the post-credits scene of Marvel Studios’ Iron Man, which laid the groundwork for not only The Avengers but the entire MCU. The implication of Jekyll’s comment is that the Mummy will return within Universal’s Dark Universe, but not necessarily in a direct sequel. Since we know this is a shared universe of classic monsters, and Prodigium will be the thread tying them all together (as S.H.I.E.L.D. was in Phase 1 of the MCU), Kurtzman’s film is setting the stage for The Mummy to return in the Dark Universe as an anti-hero fighting against a bigger evil.

At this point, it’s not exactly clear where the Dark Universe is headed. Universal has so far only confirmed a handful of solo films, and comments from franchise producer Chris Morgan indicated each monster reboot is a “standalone” entry in the series, though they are interconnected. Given the parallels between the ending of The Mummy and the post-credits scene from Iron Man, it seems as though future Dark Universe installments may be origin stories for the various characters, and the rebooted classic monsters will assemble one day for some kind of team-up.

Not only does this mirror the model of a shared universe laid out by the MCU, the concept of a team of villains joining together at the behest of an organization working to fight evil is reminiscent of Warner Bros’ DCEU entry Suicide Squad. And, in fact, if the Dark Universe continues to establish each of its monster characters as conflicted anti-heroes like Cruise’s Mummy, Universal’s shared universe is poised to become a more longform version of the DCEU’s villain team-up. There’s even an argument to be made, if one was so inclined, that there are broad similarities between Cruise’s character and June Moon/Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) – they’re both interested in exploring historical sites and become possessed by forces of ancient evil that give them unimaginable powers, after all. (Whether that makes Dr. Jekyll the Dark Universe’s Deadshot or Amanda Waller is up for debate.)

Universal Monster Movies How The Mummy Sets Up The Monster Avengers of Dark Universe

Of course, based on the characters already confirmed to appear in Universal’s Dark Universe, there’s also a comparison to be made between the burgeoning shared cinematic world and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The comic series created by writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill sees a number of literary characters team up to battle evil, and was adapted to the big screen in the 2003 movie of the same name. Dr. Jekyll and the Invisible Man are the most obvious characters that appear in both the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the Dark Universe, but if Universal reboots Dracula again, the studio could potentially introduce Mina Harker, a character from Bram Stoker’s original novel who is a member of the League. Mina Harker did appear in the present scene at the end of Dracula Untold, so it would seem Universal does have plans to introduce the character in the Dark Universe.

So, if Universal’s shared universe brings its anti-heroes together, they could become a modern live-action version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, though it should be noted that 20th Century Fox owns the movie rights to Moore and O’Neill’s comic series. The studio even hinted at a potential reboot of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as recently as 2015. Still, the Dark Universe isn’t exactly the same as the League (which is a good thing considering Universal is already facing a potential lawsuit from Warner Bros over the Dark Universe title), though the concepts may be similar.

All this is to say, Universal’s Dark Universe seems to be borrowing aspects of other shared universes to construct its new monster-focused reboots, which may be what winds up weighing the franchise down. Early reviews for The Mummy indicate the franchise isn’t bringing anything fresh to Hollywood or the now incredibly popular business of shared universes. Instead, the method of picking and choosing from what has worked before (though some would argue Suicide Squad didn’t necessarily work very well as a standalone film), is obvious to moviegoers who have been showing up for shared universe installments for almost a decade.

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be the gold standard of shared universes, other studios deliberately haven’t replicated it exactly. Instead, Warner Bros, Fox, and Paramount have built their cinematic worlds in ways that make sense for their characters and brings something new to the table. Although it may still be too early to truly know where Universal’s Dark Universe is headed, the blatant teaser at the end of The Mummy sets the stage for a shared universe with inspirations from The Avengers and Suicide Squad. However, without offering much of a different spin on those concepts aside from the use of classic movie monsters rather than superheroes, it remains to be seen if Universal’s Dark Universe will actually be able to rival the MCU and DCEU.

How The Mummy Sets Up The ‘Monster Avengers’ of Dark Universe

How Wonder Woman Makes Batman V Superman Better

The critics agree that Wonder Woman is the best-reviewed film in the DCEU, but the good news for everyone is that Diana’s origin story makes Batman V Superman even better as a result. Those who found Zack Snyder’s Justice League lead-in not to their tastes, and the changes to BvS‘s Ultimate Edition not much of an improvement, Wonder Woman may remain the only DCEU movie they enjoy on repeat viewings. But if the showdown between DC’s biggest icons seemed like a promising, or at least interesting but ultimately flawed story, the depth and added weight behind Diana’s character may improve the film more than one might expect.

With Wonder Woman flying past $300 million box office already – and possibly on pace to make more money than Man of Steel – some fond of Diana may wish to simply look forward, not backward (and that includes the Wonder Woman Amazons returning for Justice League). Having gone to the trouble of seeing what new connections, ideas, DCEU themes, and specific plot clarifications arise thanks to Wonder Woman, we have to recommend that curious fans see if the points on our list catch their interest.

Needless to say, there will be plenty of DCEU SPOILERS in our look at How Wonder Woman Makes Batman V Superman Better.

“Gods Hurl Thunderbolts”

jeremy irons alfred batman v superman How Wonder Woman Makes Batman V Superman Better

For reasons that should be perfectly obvious to anyone who has seen Wonder Woman, the scene in which Alfred addresses the apparent changing of “rules” in torturing criminals carries some new meaning. When Alfred corrects his employer and states that things have most certainly changed, it’s impossible to hear the following words the same: “Men fall from the sky. The gods hurl thunderbolts.” Considering that Wonder Woman‘s own history of humanity’s creation includes both those exact features, it pairs the final battles between Diana and Ares, and Superman and Zod. In the former fight, the bout itself is based on literally hurling thunderbolts.

Alfred continues to explain that when the gods do battle on Earth, or make this plane of ‘mortals’ their backdrop – as Ares, and Zod have – the result is that “innocents die. That’s how it starts, sir. The fever. The rage. The feeling of powerlessness. It turns good men cruel.” It’s a little eerie how much this claim resonates, since the notion that men are inherently “good,” and that they grow “cruel” only through a hunger for power (all stemming from envy, anger, and hate) are the basic thesis statements of Wonder Woman.

Unfortunately, the pattern has begun all over again with Bruce in particular – adding further fuel to the idea that men don’t need to be directly steered by Ares to be corrupted… unless you argue that Lex Luthor is now the one manipulating events, and trusting that all key players will react, and attack, as he assumes. More on that later.

“You Know, Dad Was Born in East Germany”

Jesse Eisenberg in Lex Luthor Viral Marketing How Wonder Woman Makes Batman V Superman Better

Wonder Woman may end with Diana saving the day, and The Great War ending in a ceasefire, but the wars of man were already set in motion. Even if we know that Diana didn’t “turn her back” on the world, she does admit to turning away from it with Ares defeated. It’s hard to blame her, considering how the so-called ‘good guys’ she was fighting alongside in her own solo movie handled Germany upon their defeat in World War II (which spun out of Germany’s defeat in World War I). In short, dividing the country up into sections each conquering country could claim – with East Germany falling under Soviet rule until 1990. By then Lex Luthor’s father had already spent his childhood in the controlled region, “marching in parades, waving flowers at tyrants.”

The likely history, then, is of Lex’s father growing up in the forgotten mess left behind by foreign powers. Only in adulthood did he clearly leave for America, have a son, and grow his empire in that child’s name. Consider how Lex views even virtuous heroes or ‘defenders’ as far darker than most realize, and you’re pulling at a compelling thread. Also of note: Germany largely lost the war Diana fought in by trying to knock out one superpower (France) before their other neighbor (Russia) could attack. Damaged, but aggressive and power-hungry trying to outsmart threats on either side… well, that describes Lex just as well.

The Metahuman Thesis

Lex Luthor Batman V Superman poster banner How Wonder Woman Makes Batman V Superman Better

As manic as he may be in pursuit of power and authority, you have to hand it to Lex Luthor for realizing that Superman wasn’t the only superhuman to have walked the face of the Earth throughout history. The Kryptonite weapon he proposes is intended to deter more than just the Man of Steel, since he believes “there are more of them… the metahuman thesis. More likely than not, these exceptional beings live among us. The basis of our myths. Gods among men upon our little blue planet here.” We learn later in the film that he’s already found proof of one immortal Greek warrior woman, but it’s a solid theory to begin with, since we now know that it’s correct on even its most fundamental assumption.

If Diana would be defined as a “metahuman” due to her being the daughter of Zeus, then it stands to reason many other gods, demigods, and children of gods were similarly shifted from history to myth. Hercules seems just as likely a candidate proving Lex’s point, and may even be referenced in Wonder Woman easter egg. But if you go one step further and assume that Zeus, Ares, and the rest of the Olympian Gods were also shifted from actual figures to ‘gods,’ Lex may give another hint towards the Gods of Apokolips actually creating the Greek Pantheon.

How Wonder Woman Makes Batman V Superman Better