Minecraft has rolled out to practically every major platform out there, such as Xbox One, Windows 10, Samsung Gear and Oculus VR, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, and even the New Nintendo 3DS.
With the Better Together update, Mojang and Microsoft are bringing them all together via cross-platform play — almost all of them, that is. Notably, the PS4 is out of the "togetherness," so to speak, and unfortunately, that also applies to earlier Java and 3DS versions of Minecraft.
Minecraft Better Together Update
First and foremost, what the Better Together update essentially does is tie the different Minecraft versions on the mobile, the VR, the Xbox, and the PC together into one neat package.
The mobile, VR, and PC versions have been running on what the developers call the Bedrock Engine, and now the console versions such as Minecraft on the Xbox One are going to run on the same engine the aforementioned trio uses.
By "console versions," we mean that the update will also include the Nintendo Switch, but that's been delayed until sometime in the winter. Just to be clear, that doesn't refer to the PS4.
Now as said earlier, this opens up cross-platform play, and that means a Minecraft player on the PC can play in the same space as another player on the Xbox One and Android, for instance.
One more advantage worth noting here is players can pick up where they left off across the supported platforms. For example, after playing on the PC, they can continue their progress on Android or the Xbox One.
That's pretty much just the tip of the iceberg as well.
"This new version of Minecraft also introduces the supported platforms to parrots, banners, armour stands, stained glass, fireworks, new world start options, new game rules, host options, the recipe book and loads, loads more. All that, and it lets you marvel at the True Beauty of coarse dirt for the first time! Wow! Coarse dirt! Just, wow," Mojang says, adding that sharing invite links to Realms is also part of the plan.
Sounds Great, So What's Up With Sony?
Cross-platform play is arguably a great feature by all accounts, but Sony doesn't exactly see it that way. As a result, it's not joining the party, taking all the Minecraft PS4 players along with it.
Back in June, Sony already explained why it's against cross-platform play, saying that it has the responsibility of looking after its players, including children, and that it can't stay on top of things if it rolls out the feature.
For the record, it's not a matter of difficulty in implementation at all, which is evidenced by the recent accident on the Fortnite developers part that allowed cross-platform play between Xbox One and PS4 players.
Now from another perspective, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty provided an explanation in an interview with Engadget.
"We just flat-out couldn't get those two completely in sync," he said.
Other platforms that aren't getting the Better Together update include the Mac and Linux versions of Minecraft too. They'll be stuck with the original PC version called the Minecraft: Java Edition, but they will still get other updates for new features and whatnot. The same goes for other titles with the appendage "Edition," such as Minecraft: Wii U Edition.