Microsoft shows off nearly two hours of the upcoming Minecraft Bedrock Edition for Switch

Microsoft showcased nearly two hours of the upcoming Minecraft Bedrock Edition for Switch, demonstrating some of its new features and improvements in a recent livestream.

Minecraft Bedrock Edition is, of course, Microsoft’s new unified, cross-platform version of the hugely popular block builder, and is already available on Xbox One, Windows 10, and mobile.

According to Microsoft, core development of Minecraft Bedrock Edition for Switch (which will be free to all existing Minecraft owners on the console upon release) is “largely complete”, and the team is now focused on improvements. overall quality finals.

In the livestream, Bedrock producer Justin Woods acknowledges that the “Xbox [version] could have cooked a little longer” before its release last year, and that the studio has no intention of making the same mistake twice: “We really take our time with Switch”.

Specifically, the team “takes a lot of extra care […] trying to make sure that this launch is really smooth, that the global conversion system works really well for people, and that migrating from editions […] is an easy transition for you.”

And certainly, based on the footage shown during the long stream (which doesn’t really kick off for 30 minutes, so you might want to skip ahead), the new Switch version of Minecraft looks like an improvement over its predecessor. in several technical fields. It appears to run at 60fps in both docked and handheld mode, and Microsoft claims the current version is capable of displaying 14 pieces of the game world at once.

That’s significantly more than the 6 tunes visible in handheld mode in the currently available Switch edition, and a slight improvement over docked mode as well. Songs load quickly with a smooth fade-in transition, and the overall impression is of a smoother and far less claustrophobic experience on the console – the complex Super Mario Mash-up Pack map, which features heavily in the livestream, benefits greatly from the improved draw distance.

Elsewhere in the video there’s a look at a range of Bedrock features running on Switch – such as the new storefront – and confirmation that you’ll need a Microsoft account to play online with people on Switch. other platforms, but not with other Switch players. .

The video also shows off a bit of Bedrock’s new touchscreen support for Switch handheld mode. Touch can be used for inventory management, navigating menus, and typing with the on-screen keyboard when searching and chatting – which is certainly welcome.

Microsoft says Minecraft Bedrock Edition is set to release “soon” on Switch. Hopefully its various improvements will help bring the much-maligned version of Bedrock closer to the older, more polished legacy console editions.