Minecraft inches closer to true next-gen versions with PlayStation 5 preview, but don't get your hopes up for ray tracing

Minecraft Screenshot of
Sorry, Minecraft isn't going to look like this on PS5 any time soon — This is Minecraft: Java Edition with mods. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

What you need to know

  • Confirming earlier rumors and speculation, Mojang Studios has officially confirmed a native version of Minecraft for PlayStation 5.
  • Owners of the PlayStation 4 version of the game can now enter the PS5 preview to help test the native port ahead of launch.
  • The PS5 version of Minecraft doesn't have any unique features or capabilities, but should run better thanks to better support of the PS5's hardware.
  • There's no sign of a native Xbox Series X|S version of Minecraft right now, but Microsoft's next-gen consoles do run Minecraft at 4K and 60 FPS now, with increased render distance.

The Minecraft behemoth keeps on marching along with little regard for what the rest of the industry is doing, and it keeps succeeding, too. In fact, the massive Minecraft 1.21 'Tricky Trials' update just rolled out to players on all platforms. However, one consistent criticism levied against the legendary survival-crafting game is the lack of a native version for next-gen consoles. Could that be about to change?

On Thursday, Mojang Studios finally confirmed the all-but-official: a native version of Minecraft for the PlayStation 5 is coming. In fact, PS5 owners currently playing the PlayStation 4 version of Minecraft can test the PS5 Minecraft preview starting today. All you have to do is go to "Settings" and then find the "Preview" option. Don't expect anything too exciting, though — this is just a native version to help Minecraft run better on the PS5's hardware.

There's still no true next-gen Minecraft with major advancements like ray tracing, not for the PlayStation 5 and certainly not for the Xbox Series X|S. There are still a lot of players holding out for a real next-gen upgrade, but I honestly suggest giving up on those hopes. Mojang Studios is more focused on ensuring that Minecraft players across every platform have a similar experience, so I don't see ray tracing on console happening any time soon (even if Windows PC players already have it).

Minecraft is equally great on all these platforms, but that's maybe not a good thing. (Image credit: Windows Central | Rebecca Spear)

Instead, the PS5 version of Minecraft should hopefully run smoother and with better stability (and possibly faster load times) thanks to not running through the PS4 emulation layer anymore. As for Xbox, there's still no Xbox Series X|S Optimized Minecraft anywhere in sight. After one of the recent Minecraft updates, the game does now run at 4K and 60 frames-per second (FPS) with options for a higher chunk render distance, but it's still technically the Xbox One version running in backward compatibility.

Still, this is a step in the right direction. In the future, we could have a cross-platform Minecraft that actually properly and fully embraces the unique strengths of every platform, instead of giving everyone the same experience (flaws and all).

If you're interested in trying out Minecraft on your PS5, just boot up the PS4 version of the game and join the preview. Cross-play will only work between PlayStation versions and Minecraft Realms, though, and you won't have access to the Minecraft Marketplace. Mojang Studios hasn't announced when Minecraft on PS5 will officially launch, as it's dependent on how smoothly development goes.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.