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Minecraft is coming to Chromebooks, but it’s tricky to know if yours will work

Wednesday March 15, 2023. 09:49 PM , from PC World
Microsoft and Mojang are bringing Minecraft to Chromebooks, specifically the Bedrock Edition. Unfortunately, you’ll need a rather modern Chromebook to play it, and what that means is going to baffle a number of frustrated parents.

In a blog post, Mojang said that it doesn’t have a release date for the full version of the Minecraft Bedrock Edition on ChromeOS, though the company plans to release updates as close to the timing of other platforms as possible. That means that the version for Chromebooks will include the Trails and Tails update, with its ability to ride camels and other features. Technically, what’s being released is an “Early Access” edition.

“Early Access,” though, means bugs. Mojang isn’t promising that the version of the game released for Chromebooks won’t have its own unique glitches, though it’s trying to work with early adopters to nail them down before the game’s actual release.

Like Skyrim, Minecraft has long been a staple on various gaming platforms, including PCs, consoles and even a version for mobile devices. However, the game’s absence on Chromebooks was a notable gap in its availability. Users are already on able to simply visit the Google Play Store and search for the game on Android, where they’ll be able to find the new version, too. (The Chrome OS version will be sold separately, Mojang says.)

Once downloaded, players can sign in with their Microsoft account or create a new one. Since this is the Bedrock Edition, you’ll be able to cross-play across multiple platforms.

The catch, if there is one, is that you’ll need a fairly modern Chromebook. Today, “modern” means anything from an Intel Celeron 4500 on up, as defined by Mojang. That’s unfortunate, given that last year’s Black Friday Chromebook deals covered Celeron N4020 and N4120 Chromebooks on the low end — about $150 or so. Midrange Chromebooks included Pentium Silver N6000s or even Core i3s.

The minimum specifications to play Minecraft on a Chromebook

Operating System: ChromeOS 111System Architecture: 64-bit (x86_64, arm64-v8a)Processor: Intel Celeron N4500, Intel i3-7130U, Mediatek MT8183, Qualcomm SC7180 or betterMemory: 4 GB RAMStorage: Minimum of 1 GB game installation, maps, and other files

One big problem? It’s not really obvious what’s “better” than the Celeron N4500 that matches the minimum specification. Intel notes that the N4500 was launched in early 2021, so chances are that if you have a Chromebook bought within the last year or so your Minecraft game is covered. But Intel’s decision to drop the Intel Celeron name in 2022, and replace it with just a generic “Intel Processor” brand, could lead to confusion.

In fact, Intel’s scattershot approach to Chromebook naming scheme is going to be thrust into a rather harsh spotlight. Today, Chromebooks are built around the Celeron brand (N3000, N4000, and so on), the Celeron 6000 brand, Pentium Silver brand, the Intel Processor brand, as well as the Core m3 and Core i3 processors. What’s better? What qualifies as a Minecraft-capable processor? Why aren’t AMD A-series processors included?

For that matter, parents may need to figure out if their MediaTek or Qualcomm processor qualifies, too — or, if it doesn’t, what Chromebook they need to buy instead. Add to this Mojang’s qualification that the game’s requirements may change over time, and both kids and their parents may be frustrated by how this all plays out during these early days for Minecraft on Chromebooks.

This story was updated at 2:51 PM with additional details.

Chromebooks, CPUs and Processors, Gaming
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