Minecraft officially launching on 11/11/11

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The immensely popular PC sandbox game Minecraft will finally leave beta status on November 11, 2011. The release date for the full version coincides with several other games and movies, so Minecraft's creator Markus Persson has decided to give it the unofficial tagline "us too." When it finally ships, it will be available for 20.00 ($28.87); right now it's still in beta and goes for 14.95 ($21.58).

Persson confirmed that the full version won't differ very much from the current iteration, and that the team plans to keep adding features before and after the beta label comes off. He also noted that bug fixing will be brought into the development method in a more clear way so that people working customer support can add bugs as tasks.

Minecraft version 1.5 is due out next week. The new version will add Achievements and Statistics as well as weather to the game. The latter is almost complete and includes periodic downfall (snow in snowy areas, rain in others, nothing in deserts) that make the sky darker, hides the sun, moon and stars, and makes everything wet. Ice grows back in cold regions, and snowfall covers the ground when it's snowing. During rain/snow, there can be occasional thunderstorms with lightning.

"It's a bit tricky to really do a release for Minecraft as we keep updating it all the time," Persson said in a statement. "For one, the version we deem as the 'full version won't be very different at all from what the game was like a week ago, and we'll keep adding features after the release as well, so it's really more of a milestone when we finally get rid of the Beta label, and some kind of goal for us to work towards. The plan is to be open with this and try to get people to cheer us on as much as possible, but to be open with the fact that the game won't change much at the actual release day. (It's more a progress up until that point)"

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