Last week, TIME magazine did an interview with Jens Bergensten, the lead Minecraft developer. A lot of the interview was about the new Minecraft PC ‘exploration’ update, but there was also some interesting discussion about where all versions of the game are heading, and what will be the main Minecraft version.
Asked about whether or not the C++ version (i.e. Minecraft PE) will eventually “win out” over the Java desktop version, and become the main Minecraft version, Jens had an interesting answer.
“In a sense we feel the C++ edition is more future-proof since we control the technology from the ground up. The C++ version is also much easier to add new features to” he said. “So for instance, when we did the Gear VR version, or when we did the HoloLens project, it’s much more flexible from our point of view. It also allows us to have the mobile phone and computer cross-platform play, which we really want.”
Jens says he expects that the C++ MCPE version of the game will eventually become the main Minecraft version, but he definitely wants to support both versions.
Our ambition now is to work on both of these versions, and I almost see them as separate games. Obviously they’re the same game, but the community on Java edition is very strong, and the community on Pocket Edition is very strong. I think people understand that these are two different things, even where you have players like yourself who play both.
He acknowledges that the desktop Java version has too much strong support from YouTubers and modders for that version to be left behind, and already has a strong creative ecosystem.
Jens also says there are no plans to make any kind of new ‘Minecraft 2’ game with radically different features. He says the current slow updates already work great, and moving to a suddenly new game would lose heaps of players.
“If you compare the core vanilla game to what you can do with mods, it looks like we are really holding back. That’s actually the case” he says. “And the reason for that is when we add things to Minecraft, we’re trying to partly go slowly so that people can adjust to the changes, but we’re also trying to remember that we need to grow slowly in all directions”. He points out that people prefer many different aspects of the game. Adding heaps of features to just one aspect might turn others away.
But we don’t want to emphasize Minecraft as one particular thing, we don’t want to say “This is what Minecraft’s about”. So we try to grow slowly in all directions.
It definitely looks like Minecraft PE has a bright future. Virtual reality and new tech will only make MCPE stronger, and secure it’s place as the main Minecraft version. It’s definitely not disappearing any time soon, and neither is Jens. He also says he has no plans to leave Minecraft any time soon.