Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Minecraft Coming to Android (But Probably Not the Droid You Were Looking For)

Fans of Minecraft, the popular building block game, have long been waiting for a mobile version. iOS and Android versions have been "in the works" since early this year, but now there are a few more details available. We still don't know when the mobile versions of Minecraft will be released, but we do know where: on the PlayStation phone.

Minecraft developer Mojang told the gaming blog Gamasutra that an Android version of the game will come first to Sony Ericsson's PlayStation-certified Xperia Play.


Porting the popular PC game to mobile phones is challenging in a number of ways. "When playing on smartphones you will have a different screen size compared to PC, different hardware, different attention spans and thus the game needs to be customized to fit the mobile specifications," the company told Gamasutra. But Mojang says that the Xperia Play version will feature customized controls that utilize the phone's PlayStation-styled slide-out buttons.

The Xperia Play will begin shipping this week. The $199 phone will require a two-year contract on Verizon. The phone runs Android 2.3.

Despite confirmation that the Xperia Play gets mobile Minecraft first, there are still no details about the pricing or the release date or how long any sort of exclusivity on Xperia might last. Gamasutra does predict more details will be forthcoming at E3 where there's a special Minecraft-themed event planned.

ZDNet calls the decision to launch the mobile version of Minecraft on the PlayStation phone "a bit of a headscratcher." Why make such a popular game available on a brand new phone? "Perhaps Mojang is hoping that by limiting Mobile Minecraft's user base to a select group, they'll be able to tweak gameplay before rolling out the game to a much larger audience," ZDNet surmises.

Rest assured iPhone and other Android owners. Mojang says that versions for iOS and other Android phones are still under development, but the company says that these versions all must be "tweaked slightly" in order to handle the move from PC to mobile.


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