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Minecraft for Windows 10: Microsoft plays its trump card

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta

Free Minecraft for Windows 10 app offered to current owners of the PC version

If making it a free upgrade wasn’t enough to convince people to shift to Windows 10, Microsoft’s offering 20 million gamers another incentive: it’s bringing Minecraft to the Windows Store. Despite having completed the purchase of Minecraft owner Mojang last November, the popular building-brick game has yet to appear in the Windows Store or on Microsoft’s mobiles. All that’s about to change.

Microsoft will launch Minecraft into the Windows Store on July 29 – the same day as Windows 10 is released. It seems the new version – dubbed Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta – will have more in common with the Pocket Edition of the game than the full-blown desktop version. However, current owners of the PC version of Minecraft will be given the Windows 10 Edition for free. 

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For everyone else, the game will costs $10 whilst it remains in beta. Players who buy the game during its beta phase will get to keep the game when it comes out of beta and continue to receive all the updates. Indeed, like Windows 10 itself, it seems Microsoft is planning rolling updates for Minecraft. “Just like the first release of Minecraft all those years ago, this version will develop and evolve over time with the help of your feedback,” reads a blog on the Mojang website. “That’s why it has ‘Beta’ in the title – because it’s not quite finished, and will become even more fun over time. Just like the other versions of Minecraft, all future updates will be free.”

The Windows 10 version of Minecraft will include both Survival and Creative modes, but will also include some unique features. Players will be able to co-operate with up to seven players online via the Xbox Live network, but also play online or local multiplayer with other Pocket Edition players with an update that will arrive “soon” after the game’s launch.

Windows 10 players will also have a variety of control schemes to choose from, including touch on tablet devices, keyboard and mouse, or even using Xbox games controllers. Players will also be able to record their gaming sessions with the built-in GameDVR feature, allowing them to add to the millions of Minecraft gameplay videos already clogging up YouTube. 

The new app isn’t the only means by which Microsoft is attempting to bait Minecraft fans towards Windows 10. The company is also developing a version of the game for its new Hololens headset, although we don’t expect that to be ready for release for quite some time.

It’s all a far cry from when Microsoft tried to reach out to then Mojang owner Markus ‘Notch’ Persson in 2012, asking him to submit Minecraft to the fledgling Windows 8 Store. “Got an email from Microsoft, wanting to help “certify” Minecraft for Win 8,” Persson tweeted at the time. “I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform.”

If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. 

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