Minecraft, the sandbox behemoth, has consistently enchanted gamers for well over a decade. Unfortunately, despite its pioneering status in the realm of blocky-world creation, it has yet to truly unlock the potential of the current-gen video game consoles. Recent developments, however, indicate that might be about to change, and Xbox Series X|S users could be at the forefront of this evolution.
Rumors surrounding a "next-gen" version of Minecraft have floated around since the launch of the Xbox Series X and S. While nothing concrete materialized for close to three years, the tides appear to be turning.
A recent discovery by eagle-eyed gamers on the German version of the ESRB, known as the USK, revealed a listing for a port rated explicitly for the Xbox Series S/X. For those familiar with the intricacies of the gaming world, such classifications are usually precursors to imminent game launches.
Minecraft for Xbox Series has been rated in Germany (USK).
There is currently no native Xbox Series X or S version of the game. This suggests a current-gen upgrade for the game is imminent. pic.twitter.com/r1tHEL4LOr
— Andrew Marmo (@the_marmolade) August 17, 2023
Now, let's address the elephant in the room - Ray tracing. Ever since the tech giant Microsoft showed off this feature in a test back in 2020, the community has longed for this. Ray tracing, a graphical feature that brings real-time lighting to a game, has the potential to revolutionize Minecraft's aesthetic, making those blocky terrains gleam with a heavy dose of realism. The recent USK listing has rekindled the hopes of many that this graphical marvel might soon be a console reality.
Interestingly, while Mojang did tease Xbox users by accidentally introducing a preview ray tracing feature as recently as last year, it was promptly labeled a mistake and yanked away. But that small taste was enough to leave the community yearning for more. It's evident that some form of ray tracing has been in the works. The question is, how soon can gamers expect this leap?
It's not just the Xbox community that's ripe with anticipation. PS5 users might be left wondering about their stake in all this.
Notably, Xbox's Phil Spencer hinted at Sony being the potential roadblock for the lack of a native PlayStation 5 version of Minecraft. Apparently, Sony hadn't shared PlayStation 5 development kits with Microsoft, hinting at a possible reason for the delay. However, considering Minecraft's universal appeal, it would be surprising if PS5 users don't get to experience this upgrade eventually.
While on the subject of upgrades, it's also worth noting that Mojang hasn't been resting on its laurels. Fresh DLCs, like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed one, and the Trails and Tales update, have added layers of richness to what's already expansive game. So, an upgrade would be the cherry on top for a game that continues to reinvent itself.
Of course, one cannot dismiss the fact that the game's backward compatibility feature ensures it can run on Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 5. But that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of harnessing the full capabilities of these next-gen consoles. The possibility of a native version that utilizes the hardware prowess of these devices would undoubtedly be a game-changer.
Now, while exciting, there's always a cautionary tale in the world of gaming. Listings, while usually accurate, aren't the gospel truth. It's imperative to temper excitement with a dose of patience, waiting for an official word from Mojang or Microsoft.
Thankfully, with events like Gamescom 2023 around the corner, it's possible that this revered platform could serve as the stage for the big reveal.
All said and done, Minecraft's next-gen evolution, if true, is a testament to the game's undying legacy.
Minecraft may be built of blocks, but its legacy is anything but. If this upgrade sees the light of day, the game is poised to bridge the past's nostalgia with the future's promise, ensuring its reign continues in the gaming kingdom.
Speaking of Minecraft, we've not heard word about the live-action Minecraft film starring Jason Momoa in a while.