Microsoft has agreed in principal to speed up its update process for Minecraft on XBLA.
Lost in the shuffle of Minecraft's "official" release in November and all the holiday hullabaloo is the impending Xbox Live Arcade port first announced at E3 last year. We haven't really heard a peep about the port or its Kinect integration, but the team Mojang hired to handle transferring the PC code has been working diligently. Paddy Burns from 4J Studios in Dundee, Scotland, said when the XBLA Minecraft comes out - late winter or early spring - it will be based on beta version 1.6.6. The plan is to get the code up to the current PC version, and to that end Burns has negotiated with Microsoft to allow quicker patches than the Xbox team is accustomed to providing. Hopefully, the streamlining of Microsoft's update testing process will speed up all future patches of not only Minecraft but other games as well.
"Microsoft knows that to do a similar thing that's on PC where they constantly update it, that's a very difficult thing to do on Xbox because you have to go through the full tests," Burns said. "But they are quite keen to move towards that - they do see it as the future, so I think we might be the first to do constant updates."
There will still be a bottleneck when patches have to be tested by Microsoft staff, but Burns thinks that process will go smoother for Minecraft. "The whole turnaround of that testing they're hoping to speed up, so we can maybe roll out very two months. We'll have to see how that goes," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it being updated with patches and new features after it's released."
If Minecraft is somehow the impetus for faster Xbox paches, then Notch will hold the distinction of being the only game designer to foster significant breakthroughs in both PC and console gaming.