The Minecraft craze shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Microsoft realized the franchise's potential about a year ago, and purchased the IP as well as developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. Since then, Microsoft has helped Mojang to continue supporting Minecraft across a wide variety of platforms, including their competitors on PlayStation. Minecraft is available on more platforms than virtually any other game in recent memory despite the Microsoft buyout, and now yet another version of the game has been announced, in the form of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition.
Announced as a part of this year's MineCon event, Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is set to launch alongside Windows 10 itself on July 29th, albeit in beta form. For new users, the game will be available at a discounted price of $10 for a limited time.
Microsoft has stressed that the Windows 10 version of Minecraft will not replace the existing PC version of the game. However, they are offering a free upgrade to the Windows 10 Edition to any users that already own the PC version. With 20 million units sold on PC, Microsoft is hoping that this free upgrade will convince a larger chunk of that player base to Windows 10, and serves as a sort of one-two punch to go along with the free Windows 10 upgrade Microsoft is offering to Windows 7 and 8 users.
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition definitely sounds like a more definitive Minecraft experience than the one currently offered on PC. It's not exclusive to PC, but rather will work on any device running the Windows 10 operating system, which will include PCs and tablets. Players have the ability to choose from a wide variety of control options as well, with the UI responding immediately to whether the player is using a traditional mouse and keyboard, a touchscreen, or a standard gaming controller.
In addition to all of this, Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition will include a built-in DVR system to share clips online, local multiplayer, and the ability to play cross-platform with Xbox One users. The latter further cements the improving relationship between Xbox and PC, something we've seen through other recent examples, such as Fallout 4 on Xbox One allowing PC mods.
Despite this, it does appear as though that Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition will launch with less content than the current PC version has, though what features will be left out at launch remain to be seen. Microsoft says that they plan on updating the game on a regular basis so that it can bring the Windows 10 Edition on par with the existing PC version, and then eventually beyond it to include new content as well.
MineCon 2015 has turned out to be quite an exciting event for fans of the franchise. Not only was Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition announced, but the very exciting Mojang/Telltale Games collaboration project, Minecraft: Story Mode received its first trailer. Minecraft: Story Mode boasts a particularly impressive voice cast, including Patton Oswalt, Ashley Johnson, Billy West, Corey Feldman, and more.
Minecraft; Windows 10 Edition will be available on July 29th, coinciding with the release of Windows 10 itself. Other versions of the game are available on Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.