At E3 2017, Mojang shared plans for the Better Together update, an update introducing cross-play support in order to unify the console, mobile, and Windows 10 versions of Minecraft. Starting today, the company is rolling out a beta to test this feature.
The Better Together update allows players on different platforms to “join each other in-game, create, cooperate or compete together on massive servers, and access whatever swish skins and Marketplace adventure maps they own on any of their compatible devices.”
Those who own Minecraft on Xbox One or Nintendo Switch will receive the new version for free, though they can still play the old console version if they’d like. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, a beta is rolling out for Windows 10 and Android today, with an Xbox One beta to follow “in the coming days.” Even though the point is to stress-test the game and to uncover bugs, players will get a glimpse of upcoming features like fireworks, parrots, armor stands, the recipe book, new game rules, coarse dirt, and a ton more.
In addition, the Minecraft team made a lot of tweaks to the game. A few of the notable changes are increased player limits on higher end devices, transparent ice blocks, the ability to change your skin from the pause menu, and the ability to hold maps off-hand.
To access the beta, you must own a digital version of Minecraft. The disc does not support it. In order to join on Xbox One or Windows 10, players must go to the Store app, search for the Xbox Insider Hub app, download and launch the Xbox Insider Hub, navigate to Insider Content > Minecraft Beta, and finally select Join.