Minecraft prepares to enter beta

Nobody seems to remember that Minecraft is still only in alpha mode. For those not familiar with video game developer parlance – this is a very, very pre-release stage that generally doesn’t see the light of day.

Minecraft screenshot

Minecraft is still in Alpha

After alpha mode comes beta mode – and Mojang Specifications (okay, Notch) has confirmed that Minecraft is all set to take that great leap, on December 20th.

Don’t expect anything huge straight away, either. Notch has explained that the beta phase will mainly mean “a larger focus on polish and content”, so while some bugs will be squished, there’s still plenty potentially lurking within the game.

One of the first steps the beta will take though, is introducing “proper modding support” – and they want input and feedback from the game’s modding community to make sure they get it right.

If you’re not into mods and just want to play the game as it was created, Notch has a treat for you too – a “non-intrusive” narrative that will actually give you a reason to exist in Minecraft. That’s right: endgame content!

Minecraft screenshot

...there might actually be a point to all this.

With this major step in the game’s development, it’s only appropriate that the price should be updated as well – and the sales agreement is being revamped.

Gamers who bought the alpha version of the game were granted 50% off the retail price, plus a promised free version of each of Minecraft‘s future versions, as a reward for getting in early. From beta onward, the deal has been changed a bit. The price will rise from €9.95 to €14.95 (still 25% off the final expected price), and future versions will not be free. (“Future versions” are major upgrades – like this one – and not patches. Patches will still be free.)

The changes will only affect those of you who purchase the game after December 20, so if Minecraft has been lurking about on your ‘to-buy’ list, it might be a good idea to jump in now, in case you needed any more of a reason.

Oh, and if you wanted to share the Minecraft-y goodness with other people, the developers are currently hard at work on gift codes for the game, so you can wrap one up and tuck it under the festive decorations. Perfect last-minute gift! (…assuming that they launch by your chosen holiday, of course. That’s not guaranteed just yet.)

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