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Minecraft adds cross-platform play so Windows 10 players can build with mobile friends

Almost a year to the day after it bought Minecraft makers Mojang, Microsoft is updating the Windows 10 and Pocket editions of the ultra-popular building game, adding the cross-platform support it previously promised, and inserting features that were previously missing from the mobile version. Players on PC, iOS, Windows Phone, and Android will now be able to build on the same server together, and people with the Pocket edition will now see enhanced weather effects, will be able to create new items, and will finally able to sprint around in the world they've shaped.

Up to five people can play together on a local network

Up to five people will be able to play across platforms on a local network, meaning that multiple kids in a household will be able to inhabit the same world without needing five of the same device. Five will also be able to play together in Minecraft's Windows 10 version, playing over Xbox Live. The newest edition of the game launched alongside Microsoft's new OS on July 29th, but remains in beta form, lagging behind its full-fledged cousins on other platforms. The Pocket edition, too, still has fewer options than the original PC or console versions. Microsoft has yet to confirm when those other versions will also gain cross-platform play.

Microsoft acquired the Minecraft name last year in an unexpected $2 billion deal, but has largely held off on making any sweeping changes to Minecraft so far, beyond ensuring that its new big-name property was present on day one of its new operating system's life. Some suggested that Minecraft, or future titles in the series, would become a Microsoft exclusive down the line, but today's update indicates that Microsoft is more interested in allowing as many people to purchase and play Minecraft together than locking it down to its own consoles or operating system.