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You won’t need to double up on subscriptions if you only want Xbox Live for Minecraft.
Microsoft has confirmed to GamesBeat that no one will have to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription to use the cross-platform multiplayer features of Minecraft Realms. Last week, the company announced that its Realms server-renting membership is available for the mobile versions of Minecraft — consoles are getting it next year. This feature also enables people on iOS, Android, Windows 10, and more to play Minecraft together for the first time using Xbox Live. But unlike other Xbox Live games, you will not need a Gold subscription for online multiplayer. Realms is its own subscription service that can cost as much as $8 per month, and Microsoft is avoiding hitting up Minecraft fans for money twice with the $60-per-year fee for Gold.
Mojang launched Realms for the original PC version in 2013, and it is now available separately for all of the following platforms:
- Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition
- Minecraft: Pocket Edition for iOS
- Minecraft: Pocket Edition for Android
- Minecraft: Pocket Edition for Kindle Fire
- Minecraft: Gear VR Edition
These comprise all of the variations of Minecraft that run the Pocket Edition code, and they will all work right now with cross-platform play. You can subscribe to two version of Realms for these platforms. For $4 per month, you and two friends can run around a server at once. For $8 monthly, you and up to 10 friends can populate a server.
Microsoft is trying to unify the variations of Minecraft. Getting the mobile versions to work with one another is a strong start as those platforms have tens of millions of players. The end goal is to bring the PC and console forks into the fold as well, and Microsoft could pave a new cross-platform multiplayer future in the process.
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