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Minecraft owes a lot of its popularity to its openness and depth. Players can do things like run their own servers or install all kinds of mods. But that also introduces a level of complexity that a lot of fans struggle to overcome. Mojang is ready to do something about that for its players on mobile.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition is getting Minecraft Realms support. This will enable players on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to rent a server for online multiplayer that doesn’t require participants to figure out their IP address and port-forwarding. Instead, Realms keeps a server online 24/7 so players can hop on even when the person who hosts the server isn’t available. The service is kicking off in alpha for Android today, and it is free to join. Once the final product launches, Realms will require a monthly fee, and it will work across Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 (with Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition). The introduction of Realms for mobile will also give Mojang and Microsoft a new revenue stream for a game that is already among the best-selling releases in the $99.3 billion gaming industry.

If you are on Android, and you want to test out Realms for Pocket Edition, you can click through here to register for the test. Make sure that you own the game from the Google Play Store and that you’re signed into your Google Play account when you click that link. We’ll give Realms a shot for ourselves later today and let you know how it goes.

Realms is not new. Mojang originally launched the service for the PC version of the game. To help you know what to expect, Realms goes for $8 per month on PC.


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Correction: This post originally said that Realms for PC was still in beta. That is not correct. It has fully launched.


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