Minecraft Realms, Mojang’s subscription service for families, is in closed alpha at the moment - but the developers say it will see release before Christmas.
“A select group of players now have access to the Minecraft Realms limited alpha test,” said Mojang’s Daniel Kaplan in an FAQ. “Minecraft Realms is a service designed to let players play on a server together with minimal setup, and will be available to the public later this year.”
Kaplan reaffirmed that Mojang haven’t yet decided how much Realms will cost, but said that subscribers will get one server each. Only the host needs to pay, and can whitelist friends to join their world.
A limit on player count for each server hasn’t been determined either, but Mojang have set a limit of four players to test their systems with during alpha.
The developer reassured players that no change will come to the way servers are hosted or set up in Minecraft proper, and said that Realms is an additional service for those who want it - “Nothing is mandatory”.
The current alpha version of Minecraft Realms is a private, invite-only affair, but Kaplan says fans ought to keep an eye on the official Minecraft blog. An open beta wouldn’t exactly be a break from form.
Last week, Mojang CEO Carl Manneh said that he believes Realms will be the “biggest source of income” for Mojang in the future, and will bring in “more money in total than the game itself". Crikey. Imagine that. Will Realms be of any use to you, though?