Microsoft responds to rumors of an upgraded Minecraft for Xbox Series X|S

Minecraft RTX Screenshot
"No Minecraft ray tracing for you, console peasants." — Mojang. (Image credit: Windows Central)

One of my favorite Microsoft blunders was the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack. In what could be a case study for staggeringly bad communication, Microsoft announced the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack with a big budget musical, promising upgraded 4K visuals, complete with shaders and new light-reactive textures for modern Xbox consoles. 

Then, nothing. 

The Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack never released, after a lengthy period of radio silence from developer Mojang and Microsoft. To add insult to injury, Minecraft  "accidentally" launched a ray-tracing update for Xbox Series X|S consoles then pulled it, calling it a mistake. More recently, rumors began to swirl that Mojang might actually be doing something more complex than adding random new animals or biomes to the game, as new listings on the ESRB seemed to suggest native Xbox Series X|S versions of Minecraft may be on the way. Sadly, that turned out to be bogus too. 

In comments to Eurogamer, Microsoft confirmed that Mojang is not working on a native Xbox Series X|S version of Minecraft, leaving the game with the same barely tweaked Xbox 360-styled visuals the game is largely known for. Of course, the PC version of Minecraft enjoys NVIDIA RTX raytracing, but the Xbox Series X|S version remains an afterthought for Microsoft, despite owning the Minecraft franchise. 

"Given the number of platforms and geographies in which Minecraft is available, we periodically go through rating reviews and updates with different regional boards. This recent rating is not indicative of any new versions or platform support for Minecraft in the near future."

Microsoft comments to Eurogamer

Analysis: Failcraft

Color me shocked. Considering how large and important the Minecraft IP is to Microsoft's gaming operation, it always struck me as odd how slow and small Minecraft updates tend to be. Minecraft has also never had a native Xbox Series X|S version, or an Xbox One X version, capable of sporting the game kind of visuals the PC Java Edition enjoys owing to shaders and other mods. Minecraft for Bedrock does have some tools on the way for creators to build shaders, but it's a far cry from NVIDIA RTX ray tracing, or indeed, what Microsoft previously announced in the Super Duper Graphics Pack. 

It's irritating and baffling as to why Microsoft would continue to treat Minecraft players on consoles as second-class players, but alas, thems' the breaks when it comes to Mojang, it seems. 

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!