On Thursday Minecraft developer Mojang announced that Minecraft Realms is finally open for business here in North America. Right now it’s only available for the PC version, but the company does plan to offer the service on other formats in the future, such as the Pocket Edition.
"Realms is the easiest way for you to host a Minecraft world online," reads Mojang’s update. "You and your friends can work on an awesome creation, adventure into the depths, or play one of our featured mini-games with just a few clicks. The servers are always available, and can be restored to an earlier point if something goes wrong. Realms is run by Mojang and simple to set up."
Costing $13 per month and run by Mojang, this service lets users quickly set up an online world that can be accessed by an approved list of players. Gone is the need to set up LAN networks, configure IPs, or juggle open ports (unless you're setting up a server and clients outside Realms). The server is also up 24/7, so players can jump into their world at any time.
As previously indicated, only invited players can join a Realms server. That’s good news for parents who previously weren’t too keen with their kids jumping on the internet with Minecraft. The host can add or remove players from their approved list with just a few clicks. Up to 20 players can be invited to a Realms server, and up to 10 can play on the server simultaneously.
"Only the host of a Realms server needs to pay a subscription fee," reads the product page. "They will be available via the Mojang account page or through a link in-game, and initially come in 1, 3, or 6 month packages. Realms servers start at $13/month, but you get a discount if you choose a longer subscription."
The FAQ reveals that Realm customers will be able to export their maps at any time, even for a limited duration after the subscription has expired. However currently users cannot upload their own maps, so customers will basically start from scratch. There’s also no size restrictions: Realms supports infinite terrain.
For more information about what Realms customers will receive, check out the FAQ here.