New Minecraft version for Xbox Series X/S looming: Is ray tracing finally coming to consoles?
An age classification for a new Minecraft version compatible with Xbox Series X/S consoles was recently spotted on the ESRB list. The ESRB is an American organization that assigns age groups to games, indicating that Microsoft is developing a new game version that is likely to be released soon. This speculation has naturally excited Minecraft console players.
Interestingly, the game had also previously shown up on the German USK list. Unfortunately, there aren't any mentions of enhancements or features tailored toward the new versions of Minecraft on either list. However, fan theories abound. The lack of ray tracing in past console versions is of particular interest: the PC version of Minecraft received ray tracing in December 2020.
In the past, introducing a ray-tracing feature to consoles proved impossible. The Xbox One or PS4 generation did not possess the required power for such an undertaking. However, Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 can support ray tracing. It's interesting to note that Microsoft used the Xbox Series X console and the Minecraft game in 2020 to showcase ray tracing technology on consoles.
Three years down the line, Minecraft is yet to release a version that supports ray tracing. Among other unusual events during this time was the launch of a Minecraft Preview version, which supposedly included an inadvertently added ability to run "prototype raytracing support code on Xbox consoles."
Adding to the controversy, "Super Duper Graphics Pack" was announced as an update for Minecraft on last-generation consoles. The update was intended to introduce visual enhancements for Bedrock game versions on PC and Xbox One. However, Mojang found the task too technically challenging to carry out, and it was never implemented.