Indie hit Minecraft is about to progress from alpha to beta stage, according to designer Marcus Persson, who has set the date as December 20th.

The move to beta will see new features added to the game, as well as some form of story mode. The price of pre-order will also be raised as the game gets closer to full release.

Minecraft is a block-building game made by Persson's Mojang Productions. Players have previously been able to pre-order the game at a cost of 10 Euros, gaining access to the full alpha build, while a limited demo is playable on the official site. Persson is raising the pre-order price from 10 Euros to 14.99 Euros as the game enters beta, in line with previous announcements.

'We'll start early on with adding proper modding support with a stable API, and we'd love all input we can get on this from the modders out there,' wrote Persson on his official blog. 'We'll also add some kind of non-intrusive narrative to the game to help drive the game experience early on, and to provide some kind of late game goal.'

'There will be a bigger focus on testing and stability as well, with more time between updates.'

'We will also change the license to remove the line that promises all future versions of the game for free,' he continued.

'Please note that this change only affects people who buy the game after December 20, so if you got the game for during alpha, you will still get all future updates for free, despite this change. A promise is a promise.'

'Buying the game during beta will include all updates up until release, of course, and bug patches will be free.'

We sent Games Editor Joe on holiday to Minecraft earlier this year and he sent back many lovely holiday snaps - although not everyone on the team liked them.

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