Minecraft has already done a fantastic job of changing the general perception of indie games with the sheer level of it’s scope, innovation and community focus. It’s not done though, recent comments from 4J studios in EDGE magazine could mean that the Xbox version of the game may bring with it some much needed changes to the Xbox live as a platform.
Comments from 4J studios chief technology officer, Paddy Burns, point towards a shift in Microsofts famously slow certification process for games. Anyone familiar with the PC release history of Minecraft will know that it’s a game subject to frequent updates. This looks to be similar to how the XBLA version will work, but given the current certification process the updates would be months apart.
The current plan is that the first day release of Minecraft for XBLA will be the same as the 1.6.6 build that the PC saw prior to last years E3. In an effort to bring the game back up to the current PC version, as well as following any later builds, is to use frequent updates. This is where the XBL certification would change.
[quote]“Microsoft knows that to do a similar thing that’s on PC where they constantly update it, that’s a very difficult thing to do on Xbox because you have to go through the full tests. But they are quite keen to move towards that – they do see it as the future, so I think we might be the first to do constant updates.” – Paddy Burns, Chief technology officer of 4J studios [/quote]
Burns’s plan is to release updates every 2 months, whilst still fairly far apart this would mean a vast improvement on the current process. If this works, and every indication supports this idea, this means that not only Minecraft will benefit from the new systems. Games will be able to see more frequent updates and fixes, putting XBL in much better sitting with developers.
This may not be a monolithic change that will transform XBL into something new and unrecognizable but it’ll bring it more in line with the hyper pace of the mobile and PC markets.
There’s still no firm date for the release of XBLA Minecraft, though Mojang couldn’t help by finishing up with a teasing comment:
[quote] “Winter in Sweden is very long, so you can expect … just kidding. Late winter.” [/quote]