After dragging its heels for years, Sony is now wholeheartedly joining Microsoft and Nintendo at the cross-play table, and the new trailer for the PS4 version of Minecraft Bedrock is the most wholesome bit of jolly cooperation yet.
Bedrock is the unified version of Minecraft, and it's what all other platforms - Xbox One, Switch, mobile, and Windows 10 - use to play together. For some time, PS4 has been the only one out of the group - to put it in perspective, Bedrock most recently came to Switch in June 2018. With the PS4 release coming tomorrow, December 10, every platform under the sun will finally get to play together as one big happy Minecraft family.
As it happens, the Switch release of Minecraft Bedrock seems to have served as a template for the PS4 release, right down to the tone of their announcement trailers. The Switch trailer came out right as Nintendo and Microsoft were really beginning to buddy up, which is also around the time Sony's stick-in-the-mud attitude began to stand out in a bad way. How amusing it is to see the same "Create together, Explore together, Survive together" banner spread across red, green, and blue tiles just over a year later.
Funnily enough, because Minecraft developer Mojang is now under Microsoft's publishing umbrella, PS4 owners will actually need a Microsoft account to play the Bedrock version of the game. As a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer, "A free Microsoft or Xbox Live account allows all Minecraft players to track progress and purchases across platforms, now including PS4. The paid Xbox Live Gold service is not required to play Minecraft." Naturally, PS4 players will also earn PlayStation trophies rather than Xbox achievements.
Microsoft also addressed the timing of the PS4 release. "We've been talking to our partners at Sony about this for a while, and think now is the right time from both a studio and community perspective to bring PS4 players along on the Bedrock journey," a spokesperson said.
In a PlayStation Blog post, Mojang senior creative writer Kelsey Howard clarified that, "The next time you start Minecraft, the new update will install automatically and free of charge. This update will never expire, and all game purchases after today for PS4 will always be for this new version."
Earlier this year, Sony and Microsoft agreed to share the latter's Azure datacenters in a new partnership focusing on cloud- and streaming-based services. Last month, Microsoft confirmed that Project xCloud will natively support Sony's DualShock 4 controller. And now we have this Minecraft development. As we head into the PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett generation, here's hoping Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo continue to play nice, because everyone benefits.
In equally important Minecraft news: this Baby Yoda mod.