During Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference, a couple of members of Minecraft developer Mojang take the stage to detail the game's new "Friendly Update."
When Microsoft purchased the IP, many Minecraft fans were worried that the company would favor the Xbox versions of the game. On the contrary, Minecraft across all platforms has continued to receive updates, DLC, and more, with one of the game's most substantial updates detailed during Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference. It's known as "The Friendly Update," and it will be adding crossplay to Minecraft.
By adding crossplay to Minecraft, the team at Mojang aims to make Minecraft more social than ever before. At E3, it was shown that crossplay will allow players on Android mobile devices to play with those playing the game on iOS mobile devices, and vice versa. To that end, the ultimate goal of The Friendly Update is to eventually make crossplay possible between all versions of Minecraft across mobile devices, PC, and of course, Xbox One.
However, the Mojang studio members at E3 kept saying the words, "all platforms," when discussing crossplay functionality, perhaps hinting that players will eventually be able to play together across different consoles as well. We already know that Microsoft is open to Xbox One and PS4 crossplay, and with Minecraft already having such a large user base on both platforms, it seems like it would make the ideal game to test the waters of console crossplay support.
Besides The Friendly Update, Minecraft's presence at E3 also included news on some features coming to the game a little bit later on. This includes Realms, which are dedicated servers that allow people to play in their friends' worlds without the need for their friends to be online.
On top of The Friendly Update and Realms, Minecraft fans can expect another update that will add texture packs to the mobile versions of the game, as well as Add-Ons. Add-Ons will alter the game much more than texture packs do, by transforming enemies into brand new creatures, and tweaking the look and behavior of NPCs. Console Minecraft players will have to wait a little bit longer to enjoy Add-Ons, as the feature will be added to those platforms at an undetermined point in 2017.
Minecraft continues to be one of Microsoft's key gaming properties, and for good reason. The franchise is a phenomenon, constantly topping sales charts, and seems to have become a permanent part of pop culture. The Friendly Update and the future updates to come look to improve the Minecraft experience even further, and fans can look forward to more details on those updates at MineCon in September.
Minecraft is available now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, and various mobile devices. The Friendly Update for the game is available to download for PC and mobile platforms now.