Say good-bye to Minecraft: Xbox One Edition. Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is dead. So is every other edition. In their stead: Minecraft. Pure and simple. Today sees the Better Together update hit the Minecraft world. One big, blocky family.

Okay, so maybe Minecraft will continue to be sold with the different Editions designating a platform in stores, but the underlying news is that all “Bedrock Engine platforms” are united with a common playerbase. Xbox One players can play with mobile players, or Windows 10 players, or both.

And when the Nintendo Switch version launches “this winter”, it too will be brought into that fold.

According to the press release we were sent, that’s tens of millions of devices running Minecraft, all being thrust together into the same player pool and with more feature parity than ever before. The Better Together update also introduces 34 new features.

This is the biggest test and roll-out of cross-platform play, something that has been both highly anticipated and hotly debated as Sony opted out of cross-play with Xbox.

This news excludes both of Sony’s platforms, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and Xbox 360, but unites all other players. A bigger playerbase and greater unity across them.

A beta version of the Better Together update had been running since soon after the E3 announcement, comprising users across Xbox One, Windows 10 and Android. And now that the update is beginning to roll out, players will see those features hit their game.

The update includes:

  • Dozens of new minigames through three community server partners;
  • Console players can access player-made content, and all purchases sync across platforms through users’ Xbox Live accounts: content includes adventure maps, worlds, textures, and skin packs; and
  • Mobile and Windows 10 players will be able to generate invite links with custom URLs to invite their friends into their worlds, which will even work if the world’s owner is not online at the time (feature coming soon to Xbox).

When is the update live?

The Better Together update is live across all the Bedrock Engine platforms right now, and it’s free. The so-called Bedrock Engine platforms are: Xbox One, Windows 10, and all mobile platforms.

Downloading: Digital Purchases versus Physical

There’s a slight quirk for owners of Minecraft on physical media when it comes to downloading this update. Digital owners can simply update their game. For disc owners, however, they have to have played five hours within the last 12 months (which presumably means leaving it running for five hours from now on would also count), or need to make a Minecraft Store purchase before January 30, 2018. Ostensibly this is to separate real accounts using physical media from fake ones.

This is the biggest test so far of cross-platform play, incorporating all of consoles, PCs and mobile devices, and we will be following to see if other games start heading down this route more frequently.