E3 2011: Minecraft announced for Xbox 360, out this year

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The sleeper hit that became a breakout hit on PC has been announced for Xbox 360 with Kinect support. At today’s Microsoft press conference at E3 in Los Angeles, Phil Spencer, Corporate VP of Microsoft Game Studios, announced that the game would arrive on Xbox Live Arcade this Winter for half the world. That means for the other half of the world it will arrive on Xbox Live Arcade this Summer. (Ok, technically that still only covers about three quarters of the world; a whole bunch of people don’t experience Summer or Winter because at the equator there is only Wet and More Wet).

Minecraft PC Beta Screenshot 1

Anyway, Minecraft, for those who don’t know, is a game in which you basically terraform a world for fun, or if you’re the less creative type (like me), to make yourself safe from zombies. It’s been a huge hit in the indie world, selling a bazillion copies (you can see the current stat at the Minecraft web site), and it’s a game ripe for co-operative online play which makes XBLA the obvious first choice for a console version. It doesn’t seem like other console versions are ruled out by Majong, the makers of Minecraft, but this Christmas time you’ll only be able to play it on Xbox 360. And PC, Mac, Linux and mobiles (including the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play). Clearly what’s important, though, is that it’s not on the PS3 or Wii yet.

Markus Persson, otherwise known as Notch, or perhaps better known as the inventor of Minecraft, has indicated via twitter that he will personally continue working on the PC and mobile versions (they’re demoing the Minecraft Pocket Edition on the Xperia Play at E3), while another team of people will create the Xbox 360 port.

Minecraft PC Beta Screenshot 2

While the game will support Kinect, it seems it will still be playable with a standard Xbox 360 controller, which is good to know; I’m not sure I want to build a safehouse able to withstand a zombie invasion with my bare hands. Not because it wouldn’t be fun, but because the zombies will get me before I finish building the foundations of my house. I’ll probably still be digging a flat piece of land when night falls. There was no demonstration of the Kinect controls at the conference – I hope we get to see it soon. Notch is going to be at the Mojang booth tomorrow so we might find out a bit more soon.

Note: the screenshots in this post are not from the Xbox version of the game, they are taken from the PC version. The game is in a pretty constant state of flux so I can’t tell you whether the game looks anything like this right now, but the screenshots do convey the scope of the terraforming in the game.

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