Minecraft Realms is a big deal announcement for the game and company. Mojang and Microsoft are set to offer a subscription-based server hosting service for Minecraft players, and it will allow Windows 10, Windows Phone, iPhone and Android users to play together, too.
Minecraft Realms will support the Windows 10 edition as well as Minecraft: Pocket Edition.
Users will pay $8 a month for their own server (whether they turn it private or public), and that will be hosted by Microsoft and Mojang. One source said that users will pay $8 a month; however, Microsoft has reached out and clarified that no price point has been announced yet. Those details will come “as we get closer to official release.”
The servers will be updated, and they will allow for cross-play between Minecraft: Pocket Edition and Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta users. The servers will be called Minecraft Realms.
This whole thing is in alpha right now, and it’s only available to Android users. The alpha is free. You can sign up for the alpha here, but you will need an Xbox gamertag. It does not need to be tied to a Gold account, though.
Microsoft issued a large Question & Answer guide with this release. We put it in the press release button below.
Minecraft Realms Android Alpha QA
Questions about Realms
Q: What are Minecraft Realms? What are the main features?
A: Minecraft Realms are cloud-saved, private, persistent worlds that are available for your friends and family to play on, even while the original creator of the Realm is offline. Realms provide a safe, simple subscription service for you to host Minecraft multiplayer worlds – and ensure that you have control over who plays in your world. At launch, Realms on “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” and “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” beta will include key features such as:
- World hosting
- Infinite world size
- Cross-device multiplayer capability between all “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” platforms and “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” beta
- 24/7 availability
- Simultaneous play for up to 10 players
Q: How does Realms make multiplayer easier on “Minecraft: Pocket Edition”?
A: Minecraft Realms on “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” eliminates much of the complexity that is required today to play in online multiplayer with others. It doesn’t require any IP addresses or fiddling with network ports. You’ll simply be able to invite friends and play together.
Q: Can you elaborate on how Realms are safe for the community?
A: Minecraft Realms provide a safe experience for the community by offering a private server for you to utilize that can only be accessed via a direct invitation by the Realm host. By proxy, it also means all of the content within a Realm will be in-line with the vision of the host, and reduces the likelihood of griefing and other unpleasantries.
Q: What other benefits will Realms provide?
A: Accessibility and ease are key to Minecraft Realms, as the Realms server will be available 24/7 without requiring the Realm creator to be online. In addition, joining a Realm is as easy as joining a single-player world as everything is handled by the game client, giving you a simpler way to play multiplayer online with your friends and family. Once you log into “Minecraft: Pocket Edition,” you can set up your own Realm or play on a friend’s Realm in seconds.
Questions about the Alpha program
Q: How long does the Alpha last?
A: The Minecraft Realms Android Alpha is available starting today, April 12th, 2016. We don’t have any further information to share about the program duration, but stay tuned to the Mojang blog for more
Q: How do I sign up for/join the Alpha?
A: The Minecraft Realms Alpha can be downloaded from the Google Play store and accessed through players’ Xbox Live account. For more details on how to opt-in to the Alpha program, see the Mojang
Q: Which platforms is the Alpha launching on?
A: We will be testing Minecraft Realms on Android devices while in Alpha, but plan to bring the full service to other “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” platforms and “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” beta.
Q: Will I be able to use my Realms from the Android Alpha once Minecraft Realms is finally released on “Minecraft: Pocket Edition”?
A: Our Alpha program is primarily available for testing and helping our team identify bugs so that the final release of Minecraft: Realms will be an excellent experience. As such, we expect to be finding and fixing many bugs, which may make Realms Alpha worlds incompatible with the official release of Minecraft Realms on “Minecraft: Pocket Edition”.
Q: Why is the Realms Alpha only releasing on Android?
A: As the Android platform offers the capability to run opt-in alpha and beta programs for “Minecraft: Pocket Edition”, we plan to continue testing new features of “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” in this manner as we have done with most prior versions of “Minecraft: Pocket Edition”.
Q: Are there any costs for participation in the Alpha?
A: Participation in the Alpha is free for players who own “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” on Android. We’ll have more to share on subscription details for Realms on “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” and “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” beta as we get closer to its official release.
Q: How many people can I invite to my Realm?
A: A Minecraft Realms host will be able to invite up to 200 players to join their realm.
Q: Are there any regional restrictions to participating in the Alpha?
A: Due to regional regulations, we won’t be able to offer players from mainland China the ability to set up their own Realm. Those players will, however, be able to participate in the Alpha while playing on a server set up by friends or family living outside of mainland China.
Q: How will Realms be supported after release?
A: Similar to all Minecraft experiences, Realms will be treated as a service and continuously updated to further improve and refine the experience for players.
Questions about Realms & Xbox Live
Q: Why do I need an Xbox Live login to join the Alpha?
A: As there is no account system currently tied to “Minecraft: Pocket Edition,” we opted to utilize Xbox Live’s advanced multiplayer network to provide the backend infrastructure and 24/7 support needed to provide such a service. Players will be required to use an Xbox Live account login to access all features of the “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” Android Alpha. However, at the final release, an Xbox Live login will only be necessary to access Realms and Xbox Live features. You will be able to play “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” without having an Xbox Live account.
Q: Do I have to pay to access Xbox Live?
A: Xbox Live accounts are free to anyone with an Internet connection. No payment is required to set up an Xbox Live account.
Q: Will I need to purchase an Xbox Live Gold membership?
A: No. A standard Xbox Live account will be required to login and access the Minecraft Realms Alpha, which is completely free to create and utilize. An Xbox Live Gold membership will not be required.
Q: Will the Xbox Live servers be stable enough to handle this additional wave of people joining
A: We have seen tremendous growth on Xbox Live over the past few years, and we are committed to constantly updating the service to improve availability and reliability. Service quality is the top priority of our engineering teams, and we’re confident we will offer a highly available service for Realms
Android Alpha and beyond.
Q: Where are the Realms servers located? Will I have to deal with horrific lag since I’m in X
A: The Minecraft Realms servers will be located across the globe, with locations in both the East and West Coast of the United States, as well as Ireland, Tokyo, and Sydney.