News Article

Developer Hints At How Minecraft Could Shape Up On 3DS

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

One for the optimists

Minecraft and Nintendo — a suitable match that's never actually got together. With Nintendo's systems popular with young gamers and the Mojang game being a phenomenon loved by children — and adults too, of course — it seems like a perfect fit. That's particularly the case with the 3DS and its large userbase, while the Wii U also has an ideal control setup with its GamePad.

Despite all of these factors it's not happened, and all E3 provided in terms of progress was a cheeky tease from Shigeru Miyamoto; hardly enough to raise our hopes.

Of course, Mojang and its development partners have been particularly busy bringing the game to almost every other system available, including smart devices through the smaller Minecraft: Pocket Edition, which is the work of the Mojang AB team. It's still technically in Alpha — yet to reach version 1.0 on iOS and Android — though that doesn't stop plenty from downloading it. The company has just recently confirmed a major 0.9 update — on 10th July — that'll introduce infinite worlds, greatly expanding on the more limited options available beforehand in this portable version. Tommasso Checci of Mojang AB, posting as mojang_tommo on Reddit, has commented in a thread in which a user expressed a hope that the progress shown towards a final 1.0 release would one day lead to a 3DS port; he said the following.

3DS would never have infinite worlds though, AFAIK [as far as I know] it could at most get a graphically downscaled version of 0.8...

It's absolutely clear that, in terms of pure processing power and resources, the 3DS is a distance behind modern smart devices, so it makes absolute sense that it'd be unable to handle infinite worlds, making the 0.8 build more suitable. What this comment does suggest is that the developers have at least considered the merits of Minecraft on the 3DS. The reality is that, with the development team busy still technically finishing the game on iOS and Android, a 3DS version is unlikely to be particularly high on its list of priorities, though the inner workings and projects of these companies are often a mystery.

Would you welcome a version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition on 3DS, even if it couldn't match up to smart device equivalents?


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User Comments (110)



Jazzer94 said:

If something like DScraft was possible on the DS I'm sure a form of Minecraft is possible on 3DS.



SkywardLink98 said:

I wouldn't get it. Not interested in a toned down port when I have the full version on the PC.



DBPirate said:

I'd get the Wii U version because of the clever things they could do with the Gamepad.



IxnayontheCK said:

PC > console > PE > a3DS version. It would be THE most watered down experience of them all. I love minecraft and my 3DS but I just don't think it would make sense...



TheWPCTraveler said:

I'd rather have it on Wii U.

Sorry 3DS, but I really don't think 128 MB of RAM would cut it for Minecraft, especially if you want a 3D effect.



Mus1cLov3r said:

I would buy it!

The update will come out on July 10th? That's a good birthday present for me. :0



MAB said:

Yeah, I would want a Wii U version instead... With the 3DS 128 MB RAM I could imagine it will look like this ↓




SKTTR said:

Wii U version if anything. At least there it's possible to be close to the original.



Shotgunryugan said:

I'll be willing to try it, but like the article mentioned, the 3DS isn't exactly the best thing for Minecraft.

These types of games are best on PC.



TheWPCTraveler said:

@Jazzer94 I stand corrected. My only problem with 3DS Minecraft is the 3D now. Well, and the draw distance. And the "fancy graphics" option.

I still stand by my opinion that the Wii U more suited for this, though. (I could imagine all the things you could do with StreetPass on Minecraft. I may as well dream.)



rjejr said:

Wow, 3DS tech is that low tech huh? It can't play an "app" game and yet the 3DS XL is still $200? Same price as the newly released Samsung Tab 4? Yeah yeah I know, 3DS has "buttons".

Vita is getting the home console PS3 version so maybe the 4DS can get that as well, it should be at least as powerful as the 2 year old Vita when it comes out in 2 years.

$170 system can't run an app game, so sad.

Still, SMG looks awesome on a 32" HD tv, so I can't help but think Nintnedo couldn't manage some type of Minecraft like game on the 3DS. Mushroomcraft doesn't need an infinite world, it just needs to be big enough to hold a castle



TheWPCTraveler said:

@rjejr To put this in perspective, the 3DS would be on par with a Nokia N8-00, in terms of specs. (More powerful chipset, half the RAM.)
Both run on ARM11, and, well, the 3DS has to power more pixels.

So the 3DS is less powerful than an N8?



Jazzer94 said:

@TheWPCTraveler I think the real hurdle would be the size of the worlds generated as the article mentioned I can't see infinite worlds ever being possible and multiplayer may be hard to but a form of Minecraft is attainable and I think it would sell solid numbers due to the 3DS having an install base of 40+ million now.

Edit: Keep in mind a phone has to multitask quite a bit more than the 3DS will.



SetupDisk said:

I'd rather a Wii U version. I got it on PS3 for 20 bucks but I just couldn't keep playing as my Gamepad was screaming to be used as a regular controller sucks with the game.



TheWPCTraveler said:

@Jazzer94 Well, I guess you're right.

Multiplayer would be quite easy to shoehorn, though. Slap on StreetPass, like so many other games. (For example, you could share your "worlds" using StreetPass, as I've heard they are actually quite small.)
Besides, considering the habits of kids to bring their portable systems out and about, this might be the reason for me to finally get a deluge of StreetPasses...



JaxonH said:


Here's the thing. All those smartphones that you're referring to that outclass the 3DS, those are $600 devices. OF COURSE they're going to outclass the 3DS. People forget just how much smartphones actually cost, because they always get the discount when they sign a contract. Go look at what those phones cost WITHOUT signing a contract. Yeah, $400 minimum, most are much higher than that. 3DS is actually very low cost compared to those phones.

Companies like Samsung can afford to sell you a $600 phone for $50 because they know they've got you locked into a subscription, which is like the ultimate goal of businesses nowadays. You're getting RAPED any time you are locked into a subscription or contractual payments. What do they care if they lost out on $500 on the phone. You're paying $100+ a month for the next 24 months! With 3DS, there are no contractual payments. You buy the system once, for $170-200, and you're done. Then you just buy the games you want and you're good to go.



Pod said:

May have been interested if I had a 3DS.
There's something fetching about a mobile version that wouldn't be as limited as the one on iOS and Android. I got tired of playing Minecraft on my PC, and Wii U would probably be the same. DS Craft was fetching because you could spend a little time on it anywhere.



TheWPCTraveler said:

@Pod They may botch the optimization of the game. 3DS devs only have 96MB of RAM to work with after all.
To be honest, I only expect a problem with draw distance when 3D is on.



SamirMalik said:

Something tells me that Nintendo is willing to publish this game if Mojong got around to doing it.



The_Ninja said:

I'm not hating or anything, but seriously, Nintendo has got to get some higher specs on their next handheld. I love the 3DS, but c'mon Nintendo! We need some more power!

EDIT: What about a 3DS expansion pack? It could give the 3DS more RAM, so it can play more brutal games.



allav866 said:

Others have said it already, and I'm gonna say it too: Wii U is a better system for Minecraft. I'd rather play on a bigger screen and with a system that can save the expanding world to my hard drive than on 3DS.



chiefeagle02 said:

If they could make it work, I'd be down for a 3DS version (even if they had to revert to an earlier build).



BlackHearted1 said:

I never realized how weak the 3DS is or at least in ram. I think they could make it work though. Although it might be toned down, i wouldn't buy it though PC for me i don't like having a bad port, when i can have a better one, even if it's not on my platform of choice



bizcuthammer said:

Not interested in the Pocket Edition. It's incredibly inferior. If they bring it to WiiU, though, I would probably get it, as the system fits perfectly with the game.



Mega719 said:

What about Wii U? It would be great to also have Minecraft on 3DS but the processing power wouldn't make it as gooc as ghe others



Gridatttack said:

The console versions didnt had infinite worlds, yet they are extremely popular. I dont see the problem.



Kejomo said:

My kids barely play the iOS version on the iPad so I doubt they would play a downscaled version on the 3ds. I would buy the wii u version though.



maceng said:

Burned again by Nintendo stance on low def graphics for their handhelds. What good is the 3D effect when the processor and RAM are lacking. Seriously, 128MB of RAM? Why not 512MB at least?

I hope that the "4DS" comes with at least 2GB and handle,as a minimum, WiiU like graphics or better.



Play-Doh_25 said:

@Mus1cLov3r If you play it on a laptop, it's portable. Not as portable as on a 3ds but still portable. I used to play it all the time on my laptop in my art history class.



The_Ninja said:

@maceng Ikr. They really need some more horsepower on their next system. Or they could release a expansion pack like I stated.



WiiLovePeace said:

I would prefer a Wii U version myself. Seems perfect to use for the full version of Minecraft.



Zombie_Barioth said:

The Samsung Tab 4 that he mentioned has a $200 7" version. Tablets in that price range are pretty common, and while your right about subsidized costs, the Google Nexus cost just under $160 to manufacture back in 2012. As we all know, the 3DS launched at $250 a year earlier.

The 3DS's problem is just what you'd expect with a console. It was designed much earlier with older tech in mind from the start, and Nintendo had to make certain compromises to keep prices in check while still allowing for certain technologies such as the lens-less 3D.



JaxonH said:


Well sure, I mean that's the thing with dedicated gaming platforms. It's the same hardware for half a decade, if not more. 3DS also has 2 screens, buttons, backward compatibility and 3D. All of which add a little bit of extra cost. All of which are examples of benefits of owning a dedicated gaming platform, aside from the exclusive games.



DanteSolablood said:

I'm on the Minecraft PE Alpha team and I can confirm that we're currently testing infinite worlds with pretty much EVERYTHING from the PC version except redstone right now... and it runs on my 2 year old HTC One X.

While the 3DS will never run the full PC version.. or even the latest Pocket Edition, I'm sure there is a compromise that will make it really fun to play. imagine a "secret bases" feature on the 3DS where you can streetpass you house??



Manaphy2007 said:

@DBPirate me too but if they made it for both and cross-platform play with the ability to transfer save data to and from wii u and 3ds like monster hunter 3 u/3ds then i would buy both



randomous said:

@DanteSolablood Hmmm, so which developer are you?

Jens Bergensten?
Aron Nieminen?
Johan Bernhardsson?
Daniel Kaplan?
or Tommaso Checchi?

It's odd... your twitter account doesn't seem to match any of these people.



SCAR said:

I'd rather just wait and see how a 3DS version turns out, if one is actually made.



Mus1cLov3r said:

@SkywardLink98 I WAS talking about the iPhone version. .-. You said that you're not interested in a toned-down port, which made me assume you don't have (or wouldn't get) 'Pocket Edition'.



retro_player_22 said:

Whether it's coming or not, I just hope that at least they try to put it on one of the Nintendo system, maybe a Wii U edition would work.



Zombie_Barioth said:

While true, thats not what I'm saying. If you built the 3DS around 1-year or so old tech, by the time it releases it'll be 2-3 years behind. So of course it'll be way behind today's technology.

Little things like buttons don't really count for much, its the custom nature of consoles that drive up the cost, extras like ESRAM or secondary CPUs. Form-factor is a big contributor as well, cramming all that into a device that fits into your pocket ain't cheap.

Its actually pretty amazing what they can get out of these things when you think about it.



maceng said:

Also, you just have to come out with the biggest specs you can afford, even at a loss at the beginning. Gaming platforms are for the long haul: 3-6 years, so you have to factor that in. Now, I bet that a 3DSXL costs less than 100 to manufacture including R&D costs.



rjejr said:

@maceng - That's my point. If the 3DS XL is based off of 4 year old tech why is it still $200 2 years later? Sure it has 2 screens, but the 7" Tab 4 is multitouch. And better battery life in a really thin design factor. Yes, videgame hardware has a much longer life expectancy than yearly tablet editions, but shouldn't the price fall about $35 or $50 every year? The XL hasn't ever had a price drop, it can't cost nearly $200 to manufacture today w/ what's in there. .



DanteSolablood said:

@vamkar The only issue with a WiiU version is why play a console version when the PC version will always be superior (and can equally be played on a TV) - let's not forget that while the WiiU is a fantastic console, it's capabilities are closer to a supe'd up 360 than a modern PC.

@maceng There are a few reasons why consoles maintain their original price longer than something like a tablet, partly it's due to the fact there are less avenues to make money. When was the last time Nintendo put an advert for another company in it's game (not counting Mario kart 8 ).
(1)it's not possible to charge companies to produce games for your console... Nintendo was one of the last companies to do this & it's almost destroyed it's third party relations. However Apple & Google CAN charge a small amount for Apps & take a cut of advert revenue as small independent creators don't have the power to say no.
(2)Prices drop when demand drops, whereas tablets last a few months & then sales pretty much STOP, the 3DS & the 3DS XL are still selling in huge quantities. It doesn't make financial sense for Nintendo to drop the price.. especially when the company is still pretty much in crises.
(3)The 3DS was reduced by almost a third within the first few month of it's life due to Nintendo BLOWING THE LAUNCH & then hundreds of thousands of dollars/pounds of software was given away for free to people who bought it full price. That £100 price reduction accounts for almost 4 years of your $35 (£21) reduction.
(4)Nintendo actually spend a lot of money in support of the product that tablets don't. With the exception of Apple, most tablet makers simple DON'T have their own online shop or internet support. They rely on Google Play etx to do it for them & this is because it costs a lot of money to create & maintain. It's one of the few areas which make it not SO bad that Apple charge about 33% more than it's competitors.

Anyway, there are more, one of them again pointing out that Nintendo is still in a big financial black hole & can't be reducing prices unless they know it will increase sales... this might work on the WiiU, but as for the 3DS, they're still selling as many as they make.



maceng said:

You misinterpreted me. I agree that at 200 bucks the 3DSXL is a nice proposition. What I'm saying is that Nintendo should have included better performance for the asking price.

I makes sense that anyone selling product A at a 100 dollars profit and selling 1 million units is better served than selling the same product at a 40 dollars profit but selling 2 million units. Is the same motto that Apple maintains.



TheWPCTraveler said:

@DanteSolablood I can think of multiple ways behind the reasoning that a Wii U version being better. For one, not all gamers have graphics tablets on hand (and if they did, they'd be using it for things other than a second screen for gaming). Then, you still have the premise that Nintendo caters to Minecraft's primary audience - kids. (You could argue that those same kids like killing people in unrealistic FPSes, so there goes my point.)



Zombie_Barioth said:

3rd-parties do have to pay royalty fees though, so Nintendo does get a cut of their profits. Thats where a good chunk of any platform holder's profit comes from.



Jazzer94 said:

@rjejr Why would Nintendo price drop the 3DS XL when it's still selling well each month, it's better to make a bigger margin then sell more for less and if people don't want to pay $200 then there is the 2DS so whats the point of lowering the cost?



daveh30 said:

I would have loved to see Minecraft on Nintendo systems like 2 years ago... It's just too late now. anyone who wants to the play game has a ton of options already. I'm pretty sure my toaster runs Minecraft.



SleepyCrossing said:

I'd prefer a Wii U version. Also, Minecraft wasn't designed around the 3DS system so that is why its not optimal. Games made FOR 3DS run fantastically.



Dpullam said:

I'd rather have a Wii U version so I don't have to make any sacrifices on the quality of the port.



rjejr said:

@Jazzer94 - "so whats the point of lowering the cost?"

To sell more? The more you sell, the more games you sell. The more games you sell, the more money you make.



rmeyer said:

Instead of porting the should consider a new team for the 3ds. It's a great console in it's own merit and already has 50 million users. I also think Minecraft would sell better on Nintendo devices



rjejr said:

@JaxonH - Yeah, you may not know it from reading some of my comments, but I really like humour. But occasionally Ill write something funny and a get reply along the lines of - "why are you joking, this is a serious gaming website, go take your stand up act elsewhere". Some people really do have no sense of humour.

4th of July weekend, I'm going to go build a hammock stand and work on my tan. Enjoy your Sunday.



endy_n_omni said:

As long as I can build structures in a creative mode and it is priced accordingly with the version's capabilities I would get it. I never got PE because I can't stand playing on a phone, but I would get it for 3DS. I don't need survival mode or anything, I have PC for that.
But knowing it's coming to Vita as the full PS3 version sorta makes the 3DS look less enticing. I always have my 3DS on me, and my Vita is collecting dust, but it would be a portable version with multiplayer and all the features the PS3 one has, with the ability to transfer map data back and fourth. So, again, depends on price. Give it to me for around $5-$7 and I'd get it just for on-the-go building. Anything more than that and I'll stick with what I have.



_exalt said:

I would love to see a 3DS version but they really need to focus on a Wii U version.



jakysnakydx said:

The 3ds is more than capable of holding a version of minecraft but what is all of this discussion on graphics anyway? The entire friggin game is a giant pixel box. I agree it's clever and fun but graphics? The 3ds can handle a few giant squares. Understandably it wouldn't have infinite worlds but that's not what 3ds users want, imo. One big open sandbox and the ability to share info cough cough dream suite in animal crossing * would be plenty fine. Majong again imo, CLEARLY has something against associating their products with Nintendo or 'children' or something. The amount of animosity they have towards the idea is overwhelming. The ease of putting minecraft on Wii U (as a developer) is as simple as one phone call. They could have it ported to Wii U in a week.if they wanted.too. That's where we get the question: Why don't they?



jakysnakydx said:

@rjejr Its predominantly a marketing subject rather than a supply chain or finance. The beginning price is very much a COGS question but in terms of price drops gaming deviecs don't follow the same pattern as smart devices or computers in general. Take the iPhone (whatever's most current). It doesn't cost $500 to make but they know they can sell it for that price so they do. Nintendo likes to make a product, price it and keep it there for ever if possible. Because hardware looses its value much faster than software we do see price drops but not in the same pattern or time table, again, as other categories.

Hope that answers a few questions.



jakysnakydx said:

@DanteSolablood The Wii U is in a bad spot yes but the company is not on the brink of nonexistence. Just a heads up. I'm not going to go through the rhetoric, you probably already know it, but there is a BIG difference from, "whoops I screwed the pooch" to "I'm filing bankruptcy".

EDIT: I also wanted to comment on the PC part of your post. What does an average 'gaming rig' cost? Mine was $2,000. That's a big far cry from the cost of a Wii U or a 3ds. Even so, how many people have their computer hooked up to their TV? I've only ever known one person to do that. Console's are the average Joe's way of playing games on their living room. This reminds me of a conversation I had with a guy who said 'Why buy Wii U when we can all just play together on our own ipad's"... yeah, cause everyone has $3,000 to spend on 6 iPads right?



DanteSolablood said:

@jakysnakydx Oh certainly, I understand the difference between being in trouble & being bankrupt - but when the top executives take pay cuts (Jan 2014)... it's unlikely that Nintendo will cut prices on a successful handheld out of the kindness of their hearts.

As for the "gaming" rig, I built my PC myself for £700 ($1206) and it can run almost any game currently available on full, but this is beside the point as I started recording my Minecraft YouTube series on an old £300 ($525) laptop with NO graphics card, Minecraft is very processor intensive but didn't actually run through the graphics card at all (unless forced too) until a few months ago. Now taking the fact that a 2 year old i5 laptop can run full infinite world Minecraft with it's weekly updates (snapshots), servers, skins and mods... I wouldn't buy a WiiU just for Minecraft - you'll end up paying more & likely get a vastly reduced experience.

I actually have my TV on my computer desk & only watch online TV - I know a couple of my friends that do that, but I understand that it's not currently the norm. I think it's possible that this will become more common as consoles become ever closer to PC's themselves.



DanteSolablood said:

@TheWPCTraveler I understand that a touch interface could be good, as an alpha tester for Minecraft PE though (and someone who has played Pocket Edition long before that), I can tell you that it adds little to the game so far. Also take into consideration that due to the technical limitations of the WiiU you'll lose a large amount of the PC version's features - infinite worlds, mods, weekly updates (snapshots), world generation, full open servers, home made skins and a whole lot more. What's worse is that most households will already own a laptop or PC more than powerful enough to run full Minecraft online (as I've said before, I started recording a YouTube series on an old i5 laptop with no graphics card).



McGruber said:

I'm sure Minecraft technically could work on 3DS, but I don't see the developer putting in the effort to downscale it. Clearly no 3rd parties want to develop for the system, even with it's decent install base. I'm really hoping the 3DS successor is announced in the next year. Nintendo needs to start putting out machines that appeal to 3rd parties (which means it appeals to more than children and families). I personally would rather pay more up front for something quality than what we have gotten with the horrible 3DS models.



Jazzer94 said:

@rjejr You sort of quoted me out of context if there is a 2DS model at a lower price that is also selling well and the 3DS XL model that is providing a good margin for each sale there is no real reason to lower the price.



rjejr said:

@Jazzer94 - Yeah, I'm constantly forgetting about the low cost 2DS, so if your point is they can't lower the XL or 3DS price b/c they already have the 2DS at the lower point, yeah I get that.

But I have been saying for months they should have a $30 across the board price cut and advertise it as such:

2Ds $129 - $99
3DS $169 - $139
XL $199 - $169

and stop selling the DS completely.

Yes, the 3DS Family is selling OK, but not really compared to it's predecessors:

DS - 150M
Gameboy - 118M
GBA - 80M
3DS - 44M

The PSP sold 80M, thats almost twice the 3DS. Vita doesn't count

So my point still stands, the hardware tech inside the 3DS systems must be much less than they are charging now, drop the price and get some consoles out there this holiday w/ SSB. And the amiibo won't even work until next year on 3DS so that won't help this year. Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, a big advertised across the board price cut could be a big marketing seller.



JubilifeRival said:

I already own PC, Pocket, Xbox 360, and I plan on buying it for my One, so I wouldn't get it on the Wii U. But for sure on 3DS!



Jazzer94 said:

@rjejr You can't just throw out life time sales like that and compare it to a system in the middle of its life, the 3DS isn't doing DS numbers but is doing about as good as the GBA so will have 80+ million at the end is hardly bad, What I'm saying is if the system is selling well and there is already a cheaper low entry unit Nintendo clearly doesn't see a benefit in lowering the cost right now this isn't like a phone that becomes outdated in the space of a year by a better phone.



ReaperX30 said:

I got it for my MacBook Pro and on my 360. I could get it for Xbox One but I don't know. I'd like to get a portable version but if the 3DS is a downgraded port I'll pass and get it on the Vita. Maybe the Wii U version would have something cool with the tablet screen but I'm not sold on that.



disco3000 said:

If they managed to get it on the Vita, why not the 2/3DS? I would be happy with a downgraded, watered-down version. As long as the save feature is intact, I'm fine with it.



jakysnakydx said:

@DanteSolablood I can understand not buying a WIi U just for minecraft but for those of us who have one already, as you mentioned with your laptop, it's just downright silly and ignorant for Mojang to say it "can't handle it".

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