Microsoft is launching an early access version of Minecraft: Bedrock Edition on ChromeOS today. The game will run on Chromebooks thanks to the Android support of ChromeOS, and Minecraft will include cross-device play with friends, the marketplace, and support for playing on Realms.
Mojang, the Microsoft-owned developer of Minecraft, originally launched Minecraft: Education Edition on Chromebooks in 2020, but this special edition required a school license or an Office 365 Education account. The early access version of Minecraft that’s launching today is limited to Chromebooks that meet these minimum specifications.
“Early access means that in this first stage, only selected Chromebook devices that meet the minimum requirements will get the option to buy Minecraft, so you’ll have to check the Google Play Store to see if Minecraft is available for you,” explains the Mojang team in a blog post. “This isn’t because we want to single out some of our players as special (we love you all equally!) – it’s so we can test the game’s performance before we make it available to more players.”
Until today, Chromebook users have had to use workarounds to get Minecraft running on ChromeOS or settle for Minecraft: Education Edition. The Java version of the game requires Linux apps on your Chromebook and some manual steps to get Minecraft up and running, and even then, you’ll need a high-end Chromebook to handle the performance demands.
Mojang doesn’t have a confirmed release date for the full version of Minecraft on Chromebooks just yet. “Once it’s officially released, everyone with a compatible Chromebook will be able to download it from the Google Play Store,” says Mojang. The team is now planning to spend the coming weeks squashing bugs to avoid the notorious flying squid milk or Ender Dragons dancing in the sky.
News of Minecraft’s expansion to another platform comes just as Microsoft attempts to win over regulators for its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. Microsoft has signed two new cloud gaming service deals with Boosteroid and Ubitus this week in a bid to convince regulators that the company won’t shut off access to games like Call of Duty and Minecraft and will instead bring them to new platforms.