Minecraft could soon be getting an optimized version for Xbox Series X|S consoles. According to Andrew Marmo, Minecraft was recently classified for next-gen Xbox Series consoles in Germany.
Currently, Xbox Series X|S players can access the Xbox One version of Minecraft through backwards compatibility. However, an optimized next-gen version could allow for new features like ray tracing support, which Microsoft has hinted at since before the new consoles launched in 2020.
Last year, prototype code for ray tracing in Minecraft briefly appeared in a preview build for Xbox Insiders before being quickly removed by developer Mojang. At the time, Mojang said the code was just an early prototype and didn't represent near-term plans to bring ray tracing to consoles.
The new Germany rating only mentions the Xbox Series version and not PS5, implying that Microsoft may have only been able to work on optimizing Minecraft for its own next-gen consoles so far.
On the other hand, Microsoft's Gaming Head, Phil Spencer, suggested during the recent FTC trial about Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard that the lack of a native PS5 version of Minecraft was due to Sony not providing development kits to Microsoft ahead of the PS5 launch in 2020.
The latest Minecraft game, the real-time strategy title Minecraft Legends, launched to mixed reviews praising its ideas but critiquing the combat mechanics. It is available for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch. For more, check out our Minecraft Legends preview.
Meanwhile, Microsoft announced recently that it will shut down the Xbox 360 Store on July 29, 2024. It is worth noting that the company ended production of the Xbox 360 in 2016.
On the shutdown date, Xbox 360 console owners will no longer be able to purchase any new games, DLC packs, or other content from the Xbox 360 store. Any Xbox 360 game will still be playable on the console after the shutdown date of the store.