'Minecraft' players on Windows 10 and mobile can now build together

Minecraft offers wondrous worlds for solo adventurers, but it also gives groups the perfect canvas to build on and break together. With this in mind, developer Mojang is making it easier to host your friends with cross-platform play between Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Up to five players can now join the same session on a local network with their PC, iOS, Android or Windows Phone devices. And, if you need another reason to try Microsoft's new OS, the Windows 10 version has also been updated with five-person online multiplayer over Xbox Live. Microsoft has put a ton of work into its new Xbox app for Windows 10 -- it's desperate to prove the OS is a worthy upgrade for PC gamers -- and this could make it easier for beginners to set up collaborative builds.

If your little one is glued to their phone or tablet, however, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has been spruced up a little too. The touch controls have been revamped and Mojang is adding controller support with a dedicated button mapping screen. Better yet, there's now enhanced weather effects, including directional rain, the ability to sneak and sprint, and access to the spooky "Nether" dimension. It's easy to forget just how popular Minecraft has become; as Mojang's Minecon convention showed this year, the community has, in fact, never been stronger, making each iterative update just as important as the last.