E3 2017: Minecraft will allow iOS gamers to play with Windows 10, Android users
Mojang will be releasing an update to its popular building and exploration game Minecraft this summer that will introduce increased cross-platform play, allowing owners of the iOS version to play with Windows, Android, VR, and console versions, as well as a number of other changes to the popular title.
The Better Together Update will roll out to Minecraft for iOS this summer, along with other platforms, as a free update that will enable cross-platform features. The iOS, Android, Windows 10, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and VR versions of Minecraft will be able to connect to the same servers, with consistent gameplay and features across all formats.
Notably, the compatibility list offered by the Microsoft-owned Mojang does not include PlayStation consoles, most likely due to the competition between Microsoft and Sony in the market. Despite the iOS update, the Apple TV edition is also not on the list, though due to its closeness to the iOS version, it may still receive the update shortly afterward.
As part of the improved cross-platform consistency, all the platform-specific versions of the game receiving the update will be branded "Minecraft," though the original Minecraft: Java Edition for PC will retain its name. Xbox One and Nintendo Switch owners with console-specific editions will get a new version of the game for free that includes the update's functionality, with Mojang advising existing worlds and downloadable content can be imported into the new release.
Furthermore, any downloadable content purchased on one platform will be accessible on other platforms using the same account at no extra charge. For example, buying the Greek Mythology pack on the Nintendo Switch version will make the same pack usable on the iOS version, as well as others.
The update will also introduce a new server browser into the main menu, allowing users to search through a list of servers to join, both independently-run servers and those within Minecraft Realms. Parental controls and other safety features will be put in place to help parents limit their children's access to specific content.
Mojang also detailed a future update for the iOS version and other platforms that will arrive in the fall, improving the appearance of the game with high dynamic range imagery and 4K graphics on supported devices. A graphics-related downloadable content pack is also on the way, adding more features such as new textures, directional lighting, and dynamic shadows, but it will only ship on Windows 10, Xbox One, and Xbox One X.