Mojang's putting its blocky foot down when it comes to brands and Minecraft. In an open letter to the community on its site, Owen Hill, the company's director of creative communications, laid out new guidelines specifically directed at companies, ad agencies and any other non-gamer entities looking to capitalize on Minecraft's massive user community. For an idea of just how vast that base is, consider that, in 2014, creator Markus "Notch" Persson revealed that the PC version had over 100 million registered users. It's understandable that a pool of users that large would prove a tempting lure for brands that want to market their wholly unrelated wares to the community. But no more -- according to the new building promotion guidelines, it's no longer permissible to build servers or maps to "promote unrelated products in playable form."
The lectern stands before a vast, grassy amphitheater. Above, the sky is a pristine blue, the cloudless quintessence of a spring morning. Perhaps the most arresting feature in this panorama is the stage: a towering neoclassical structure with Doric columns that soar heavenward. Suspended from the columns are banners emblazoned with the letters QU, for Quaranteen University. The name is a wink from the worldbuilders--college and high school students, homebound for weeks now--about the surreal circumstances of their situation.
A games fan has built a virtual version of the retro Atari 2600 games console using Minecraft. The emulator - software or hardware that enables a computer to act like another computer - was built using the basic'vanilla' version of Minecraft, the popular block-based video game. The Atari 2600 reconstruction is shown playing classic titles including Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Pac-Man, but at an incredibly slow pace. The Atari 2600 was released in October 1977 by Atari is credited with popularising the use of plug-in cartridges containing games instead of hardware having them built in. The Atari 2600 was released in October 1977 by Atari is credited with popularising the use of plug-in cartridges containing games instead of hardware having them built in.
Microsoft has also confirmed that mods will be coming to the mobile, Windows 10 and console games. It should provide feature parity -- more so than before, at least -- to each platform and open up its advanced tools to a broader group of players. That's important as Microsoft pushes into the classroom. The company is working on an Education Edition, based on MinecraftEdu, that'll be out later this summer. Some schools will use it to teach coding, so it makes sense to offer command blocks in the regular versions of Minecraft, where students can then practice at home.
A large part of Minecraft's allure is showing off your work. And now, it should be relatively easy to do that in real time. Mojang has released an update that lets you livestream directly to Microsoft Mixer (its parent company's service, naturally) from within the game on Android devices, Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One consoles. If you've just finished recreating an entire country, you can take people on a live tour without starting a broadcast in a separate app or service first. And your audience doesn't have to simply watch, either.