In a surprising move, Microsoft has stopped the development of the Windows Phone version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition. The cause of this decision seems to be the lack of enough players on Windows Phones.
The decision means any device running Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile platforms won’t receive updates to Minecraft: Pocket Edition anymore.
All other platforms supported by Minecraft: Pocket Edition will continue development and get updates as usual without any hiccups. This includes the latest Apple TV and Fire TV editions that Microsoft released along with the Ender Update last month.
Microsoft may have halted development of Minecraft’s Windows Phone version a while back; not even last month’s Ender Update is arriving for the device. Making it the only platform not to get the 1.0 version update and be in the old 0.16.2 Beta.
While Microsoft has shown interest in letting players of every Minecraft platform be able to play with each other; for now, the game is heavily fragmented between multiple platforms that have their own features and development trees.
The original Java based PC version with its extensive modding support and being the platform leading in features and updates. The Console editions, the Pocket Edition and the Windows 10 edition. The latter, which while being a UWP app, is only available for PC, going against the Universal portion of UWP.
This fragmentation brings up a critical concern: whether the mounting development costs of maintaining and updating the multiple versions may be becoming too expensive for Microsoft to handle.
The Future of Windows 10 Mobile
Although it will not get any further updates, Minecraft: Pocket Edition will still be available for Windows phones. Allowing any new or current players to keep playing but without any of the new bells and whistles.
Minecraft’s abandonment of the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile comes at a time when many other apps are doing the same. The market share of Windows 10 Mobile has been dropping heavily over the years, coming around to 1.75% at the end of last November. With Microsoft unveiling their emulation of regular Windows apps on ARM processors, Windows 10 Mobile’s days seem to be numbered.