Most versions of Minecraft are getting the big “Better Together” update later this year, including Switch. One of the main highlights is that players on different platforms will be able to join up together online. That means, for example, someone on Switch could play with another person using an Xbox One.
An in-depth FAQ was posted to the Minecraft site today explaining the update in detail. It really covers everything you need to know about what’s to come. Head past the break for the various questions and answers.
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: 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: 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 www.xbox.com/parental-controls.
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?
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.
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.