Mojang doesn't know how Minecraft: Pocket Edition will turn out
The world’s most popular indie game officially made the transition from PC exclusive to multi-platform title after the release of Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Sony's Xperia Play mobile phone earlier this year.
Now the game has completed its portable transition with its release on iOS, and developer, Mojang has a long future in mind for its game.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition is currently in a very different state than its PC counterpart, offering players only the ability to build from a set group of materials. The game's short development began in early March (after GDC 2011) with the first public demo being available at E3 for Sony's Xperia Play.
While some may find it odd to start Minecraft's mobile expeditions on a relatively unknown device at the time, Mojang business developer Daniel Kaplan credited the Xperia Play support team for its help bringing the project over.
Like its PC counterpart, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released in an alpha state, currently sitting at version 0.1.2. When asked what he thought the eventual version 1.0 would look like, Kaplan was stumped.
“Oh, wow, I really don’t know. I can't answer that.”
Hardly surprising considering the drastic change from initial release to version 1.0 of Minecraft on PC, however if there's one thing that will shape the direction of Minecraft: Pocket Edition, it will be the player community.
"One of the reasons we are doing this is because a lot of players are asking for the game on different platforms," said Kaplan. "But also to update the game in a way that fits the audience."
Currently, no content updates have been released as Mojang wanted both the Android and iOS versions to be on par before moving forward. On the Mojang website, however, Kaplan has outlined some of the plans they have for Pocket Edition. Chief among these is the addition of a survival mode, in addition to a new file system, touch-device customised item crafting, and animals and enemies.
At this early stage, there is still much that is uncertain. Kaplan is hesitant to even commit to a direction for the game, let alone predict a final outcome, only noting that there may possibly be differences between the PC and mobile versions, but that "will be revealed as we move forward... It is still in an early state and I don’t want to promise anything at this point."
He did note, however, that the Android and iOS versions of Pocket Edition will remain the same moving forward, despite their initial staggered release. The only difference will be the submission processes of each platform holder.
Mojang's heavy community involvement only takes the game so far. Ultimately the choice rests with the development team regarding what features are instituted into the end product. "We listen a lot to the community but in the end it is our call," said Kaplan. "We have to make sure that changes fit in the game before putting it in there, because when something is in the game it makes it much harder to remove it."
As previously mentioned, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was launched as a paid alpha on each device, however reviews have been run on many websites covering mobile games that fail to mention the game is incomplete in its alpha state.
Despite this, Kaplan and the team at Mojang have been happy with the game's reception noting, "I think it is up to the journalist to decide [how to review the game] and hopefully they understand that they are reviewing an unfinished product."
While not releasing any sales numbers at this point, Kaplan remained positive and determined to satisfy the company's fans. "The players have told us what they want to see more of, and we are working on it," he said.
Mojang is now committed to its product, and if Minecraft on PC is any indication, the team going into Pocket Edition without a clear outcome will likely prove to be a good thing for them and players alike.
A bug-fix focused update has just been released for the iOS version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Minecraft will also be coming to Xbox Live later this year.