Minecraft enters beta stage on December 20

Minecraft, the popular survival-based building game, will move from its "alpha" title to "beta" on 20 December 2010. The game has been on sale at half price in the alpha stage since the project was started in May 2009, and has gained approval of gamers all over.

The concept of Minecraft is simple: Go out and get resources from the Earth by digging, mining, or farming for use in building a home and protection from the enemies in the game. Creepers, zombies, and Skeletons all pose threats to the player, so while they are building their new society using textured cubes in a three-dimensional world, they must also look out for these potential enemies in this dynamically generated space.

In addition to a single player mode, there was a multiplayer mode that allowed many users to come together and build structures with other players. This was notoriously known for being incredibly buggy, as the enemies couldn't hurt the player, mining carts didn't work, and neither did the wiring system which would allow use for intricate networks.

Notch, the creator of Minecraft, posted on his Tumblr the future plans for the highly-addicting building game. The focus will mainly be on polish and content of the game, and there will be massive work in adding a proper modding API that is stable. In addition, they also want to add "some kind of non-intrusive narrative to the game to help drive the game experience early on, and to provide some kind of late game goal." Notch also says there will be a much larger focus on testing and stability with each update. Full online multiplayer support and stability is also high up on the list of improvements that Notch will be making.

When the game enters the beta state, the price will raise to 14.95 Euro and their lifetime of free updates will disappear. Purchasing during the alpha stage, which can still be done until December 20, allows for users to gain free updates to the game for life, as somewhat of a thank you gift for adopting so early on. For those who purchase after December 20, they will receive all updates for free up until the official release.

Notch also mentions that there will be Minecraft gift codes going on sale, just in time for the holiday season. Any gift code purchased before December 20 will be treated as an alpha account and will be eligible for free updates for life. 

Image credit: funcoast.com

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