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We had reported previously that Mojang and Microsoft were serious about the cross-platform playability for Minecraft, bridging together gamers across various game consoles and mobile devices to play together in one instance. Well, the first iteration of the cross-play beta is now underway.
The news was posted up over on the official Minecraft website, where Mojang informed the gaming community that it's possible to beta test the cross-platform compatibilities of the game.
The post announces that for those of you who already own Minecraft for the Xbox One or on the Nintendo Switch, you'll automatically receive an update for the Better Together update, which enables cross-platform compatibility. This update will also apply for the Windows 10 edition of the game, along with the version on Android as well.
The Android and Windows 10 versions are available right now, but there are plans to unleash the Xbox One beta access within the coming days.
So just as a heads-up about how this will work: not all of the Better Together cross-play feature will roll out in one go.
Mojang has plans on updating Minecraft with the Better Together update via a piecemeal schedule. Not all the servers will go online at once and not all of the marketplace features will be available across all platforms.
At first, there will be the marketplace availability for the Android and Windows 10 betas. Following that there will be a marketplace update for the Xbox One. After that the servers will slowly start to come online so that players from different platforms will soon be able to join in with one another from other platforms, creating one giant Minecraft ecosystem.
But the cross-play update isn't just about the technical relevance of bringing together disparate platform communities, it also features some brand new content as well, such as all new stained glass options, parrots, fireworks, banners, armor stands, a new recipe book, a new book and quill, ravines, coarse dirt and jukeboxes and music discs.
All new player permissions and world rules have also been implemented, including new loading screens, new TNT and natural regeneration options, new commands, and new 3D remixed structure blocks.
If you're on Xbox One and you're keen on testing out this new version of Minecraft, you can do so if you own a digital version of the game and head to the Xbox Store and find the Xbox Insider app. Once you install the Xbox Insider Hub, you can then launch the app and search for the Minecraft beta. Once you join in you're good to go. This process also works for the Windows 10 version of the Xbox Insider app as well.
Unfortunately, PlayStation 4 owners will not be able to participate in the cross-platform play, as they are blocked from playing games with Xbox or Nintendo users. Sony's excuse was that it was due to security concerns, even though the PlayStation Network has been hacked and goes down more often than both Xbox Live and the Nintendo Network. Anyway, Windows 10, Xbox One, Android, and Nintendo Switch owners will soon all be playing on the same instance in Minecraft, marking a huge technological leap in bringing gamers from around the world together into one place.