Surprise indie hit game Minecraft will be receiving a long-anticipated beta version and raising its price to €14.95 ($20) on December 20, according to a blog post by creator Markus “Notch” Persson. However, if you purchase it now while the game is still in alpha testing, you can get it at the lower price and you can upgrade to next stages of testing and then the retail release for free. Once beta kicks it, this will no longer be the case.
Known as ‘Notch’ to his fans, Markus has been implementing and fixing multiplayer aspects of the game for the past month. As he promised to fans earlier, when he was happy with a stable multiplayer build they would officially begin their beta phase. True to his word, the December 20th update will mark said occasion and launch the official Minecraft Beta.
Notch has also detailed a bit what we can expect from the beta stage: With Beta comes a larger focus on polish and content, and we’ll start early on with adding proper modding support with a stable API, and we’d love all input we can get on this from the modders out there. We’ll also add some kind of non-intrusive narrative to the game to help drive the game experience early on, and to provide some kind of late game goal. There will be a bigger focus on testing and stability as well, with more time between updates.
The beta version will include “a larger focus on polish and content” and an “increased focus on testing and stability,” according to Persson, as well as and official API and official modding support. Perrson also promises a basic story and end-game goals to “help drive the experience” in the beta. The relatively freeform gameplay in Minecraft focuses on creating increasingly complex weapons and building objects from basic materials, in order to protect yourself from monsters that attack during a pitch black, in-game night.
Additionally, hitting beta signals a higher price point: the normal cost will be bumped from €9.95 to €14.95, which equates to around $20. Gift codes will roll out before the price hike, which should come as good news to any last-minute holiday shoppers. With over 700,000 players of the game, the forums are already flaring with people wondering what will be implemented first.
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