Update June 15, 2017: Microsoft say cross-play with consoles will require an Xbox Live log-in.
It turns out the glue holding Minecraft cross-play together across Windows 10, the Switch, Xbox One, and mobile is a familiar Microsoft platform: Xbox Live.
“Cross-play is already a feature that the Windows 10 Edition can do with mobile,” Minecraft senior global communications manager Aubrey Norris told us. “And they all use Xbox Live.”
Original story: Microsoft’s plans for a unified version of Minecraft that transcends platform are finally coming to fruition – with a couple of caveats. You’ll have to play the Windows 10 Edition to take part, and not all of the consoles are included.
Related: the best Minecraft seeds.
The Minecraft publishers announced the Better Together Update during Microsoft’s E3 conference – although the news was literally overshadowed by the more complex lighting of the 4K Super Duper Graphics Pack. Coming in the summer, the update will allow players on Windows 10, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile and VR to play together. It follows last year’s Friendly Update, which did the same in a limited capacity for mobile.
“We’ve wanted to integrate cross-platform for ages,” Microsoft blogs, “essentially making a version of Minecraft that’s consistent no matter what device you’re choosing to play on.”
Any DLC you buy on Windows 10 will be redeemable in-game on any of the named devices – which conspicuously don’t include PS4.
We would love to have PlayStation players along with the unified Minecraft, hope that we can. https://t.co/hRGPG8Aj8a
— Aubrey @ E3 (@Chupacaubrey) June 11, 2017
The non-Windows 10 version of Minecraft, meanwhile, is henceforth known as ‘Minecraft: Java Edition’, though Microsoft say they’ll continue to support it.