Today, Windows Phone users have cause for celebration. After months of speculation Microsoft’s mobile operating system finally has a version of Minecraft Pocket Edition to call its own.
Microsoft revealed Minecraft Pocket Edition at its Blogging Windows outlet early this morning. The ridiculously popular game’s arrival on the platform means that owners of Samsung, Lumia and HTC Windows Phones can finally work on their words away from their PC or video game consoles like the Xbox 360.
Minecraft Pocket Edition for Windows Phone costs $6.99 and doesn’t include any advertisements. It’s being published by Microsoft Studios, the same arm of the company that makes Windows Phone games with Xbox Live Achievements. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t include any Achievements despite Mojang now being a part of Microsoft Studios. To be clear, that price isn’t any higher or lower than what Minecraft Pocket Edition for Android and iPhone cost users.
Minecraft Pocket Edition for Windows includes two different modes. Survival mode tasks users with finding the things they need to build their own world in the game. It sort of like this game’s campaign. Creative Mode is for users looking to build whatever they want without interruptions. This mode grants players unlimited everything. Multiplayer is included in the game too so users can interact with their friend’s worlds. Unfortunately, Minecraft Pocket Edition doesn’t include any matchmaking or online multiplayer.
There does seem to be some drawbacks. For starters, Mojang doesn’t make it clear if Minecraft Pocket Edition for Windows Phone players will be able to continue with the world they’ve already built in other versions of the game. There’s also a huge compatibility problem looming. Microsoft has been struggling to get Windows Phone 8.1, the big update that it revealed in April, out to as many users as possible. Microsoft succeeded on its end, releasing a final version of the operating system this past summer. Unfortunately, one of its biggest partners is holding up progress. Minecraft Pocket Edition for Windows Phone is only compatible with Windows Phone 8.1. Most phones have the update. Verizon hasn’t made Windows Phone 8.1 available to users of the Lumia Icon yet. That’s a pretty big problem considering the Lumia Icon was the only direct competitor to the iPhone 6 available with Windows Phone on Verizon until fairly recently.
It’s impossible to exaggerate how important Minecraft Pocket Edition’s official arrival on Windows Phone is. Minecraft’s reach is huge.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating is just barely hanging out to sales at this point. There isn’t necessarily a Windows Phone that directly competes with this year’s iPhone 6. The one that’s available, the HTC One M8 for Windows, is based on an Android device of the same name from almost a year ago. Windows Phone needs as many high-profile games and apps as it can get in its store at the point. There’s still a big delta between the amount and quality apps Windows Phone users have and what’s available on iPhone and Android. Every big app and game that arrives puts Windows Phone in a better competitive position.
Microsoft isn’t expected to update Windows Phone in a major way until Windows 10, at that point Windows Phone and Windows, the more widely used version of Windows for notebooks, desktops and portables, will run on the same code base. Some are speculating that when that happens Windows Phone users will see another round of big games arrive since it’ll standardize game development across all of Microsoft’s operating systems. Windows 10 for phones has been confirmed for all Windows Phone 8.1 devices already. It’ll launch sometime in 2015, and also have a single store that allows users to purchase apps and use them on all of their devices.