Microsoft recently released its upcoming “causal dungeon explorer” Minecraft Dungeons on Xbox One, Windows 10, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. Our reviewer praised it, and community consensus says it’s a game solid, with many years of potential to come from it.
As someone who never really got into the original Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons is a breath of fresh air. It’s a more classic arcade game that goes back to traditional elements with levels, objectives, story, and even loot for those rare items. The TL; DR is I like it. The graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay challenging, the story…well, there is one.
But I find Microsoft’s decision not to include cross-save (not to be confused with cross play) completely stupid. It’s a bad gaming experience in 2020, and the company is leaving money on the table. Here’s why.
The problem: let me play anywhere, for real
Microsoft has already noted that the ability to play on multiple devices, for example, Xbox One vs. Nintendo Switch players, is a feature coming in a later update. I might lament that it wasn’t here on day one, but with the current pandemic, and the fact that we know it will be here in a future update, that seems trivial and pointless.
Regarding cross-saves, two versions are relevant:
- Save on one platform, collect on another, for example, PC to PlayStation 4.
- Save on one platform, recover on the same, for example, pc to pc.
Minecraft Dungeons, inexplicably, has no more cross-save option.
The idea here is obvious: you’ll want to save your game progress and your character’s loot collection. Playing for hours on Xbox One only to start over entirely on PC — especially when you get both through GamePass Ultimate — is ridiculous.
Ideally, a cross-platform game would have both cross-save methods as options for players. Being able to play on Xbox One and grab your save with a Nintendo Switch would be one hell of an experience for Minecraft Dungeons. Much like the Destiny series, there’s a lot of work to find rare artifacts, weapons, and “better” items that would benefit from such an ability.
The second seems more pedestrian but also obvious. If you’re playing on your desktop PC, switching to your laptop should allow you to continue the same game. After all, there are no compatibility and platform issues or restrictions to block such functionality. , so why not ? Everything goes through the Microsoft Store.
To make matters worse, as mentioned in the comments, there is also no local cloud save. This means that if you uninstall Minecraft Dungeons from your PC, goodbye to all progress. I mean really.
But what makes such awful news is that there’s no indication it’s ever coming either. It’s confusing. Microsoft owns Azure and has plenty of cloud resources to enable either option. If there is a company that could create such a feature, it is Microsoft.
At launch, you will be able to play online multiplayer with players on the same platform. Our goal is to allow everyone to play together, regardless of platform, and we look forward to enabling cross-platform play in a future free game update. Save files and game progress are not transferred between platforms. – Minecraft Dungeons FAQ
If Microsoft were to come out and say it couldn’t get cross-save at launch, but it will come later, that’s fine. No sweating. But it is not the case here.
Multiple purchases: money on the table
What makes this whole Minecraft Dungeons thing weirder is also a financial issue. Forget the dream of buying a game license on one platform to play everywhere; I’d be willing to spend the extra money to buy a Nintendo Switch edition of Minecraft Dungeons if I knew I could play it on my devices. I’m sure I’m not the only one either.
There are undoubtedly technical issues in performing cross-saves, especially on different platforms. But when a company is building a game from the ground up in the modern age and has the resources of Microsoft, it’s utter nonsense not to have that capability.
Indeed, there are some nifty workarounds for cross-save, at least PC-to-PC. Someone on Reddit recently posted a tutorial that uses Dropbox to sync game progress and character between Windows devices. It’s technical, complicated and tricky, especially if you want to use another cloud server. But it works.
Microsoft missed an opportunity here with Minecraft Dungeons. It’s a laid-back, fun adventure from a game that already has a long road of DLC expansion packs ahead of it. The idea that kids to adults want to jump from console to PC to Switch isn’t rocket science; it’s how we consume games and media. Hopefully someone in Redmond realizes this and understands this nonsense.