If you’re a parent, you might not know what Minecraft Realms is, or why you’d want to pay for it. Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
Minecraft Realms is a service run by Mojang, the company that makes Minecraft. Subscribers can have their Minecraft worlds stored on its servers, so that they’re always available to play in for invited friends – even if the person who created the world isn’t online at the time.
That’s different from the way Minecraft works on a smartphone or tablet at the moment. For example, my sons often play together on their separate devices: one of them creates a world, and the other joins it. But if the creator stops playing, his brother is booted out too.
Under Realms, the world is constantly available, like a website. And whoever owns it can invite lots of friends to come and play, even if they’re not in the same location.
What’s new this week is that Realms is now available for Minecraft on Windows 10 computers, as well as the Pocket Edition for Android, iPhone and iPad.
In case that’s unclear, here’s how Mojang explains it:
“Realms are servers, run by us, just for you and your friends. Now, you can keep your Pocket / Win 10 Edition Minecraft world online and always accessible, even when you log-off. It’s safe, too! Only people you invite can join your world, and what you do there is up to you: create, survive or compete.”
Or, in video form:
How much does Realms cost? £2.99 to own a realm that can be played by up to three people at once, or £5.99 to own one that can be played by up to 10 people at once – this is for the Windows 10 and Pocket Edition service. If your children are playing on a PC or Mac, there’s a separate version for that.
Here’s why I’m going to pay for it: I like the idea of a Minecraft world that exists permanently for my children and I to play in – sometimes at the same time, but not always.
For example, they could play after school for a bit, but I might pop in of an evening to do a bit more crafting. Plus they can invite friends from school to play with them in a safe online space that isn’t open to the wider world.
Anyway, the new Realms feature is available to buy from within Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Android and iOS, as well as from the Windows 10 version of the game on PCs.