A Minecraft subscription service called Minecraft Realms has launched in beta in Sweden, developer Mojang has announced.

The service is described as a "safe, simple way to enjoy Minecraft with friends," and costs £8 per month.

"To make things easier, we're creating Minecraft Realms," said the developer. "It's a paid service which lets users quickly create an online world that can be accessed by an approved list of players.

"Minecraft Realms will always be accessible to players. It doesn't require any technical knowledge to set things up, and it all happens from within Minecraft. Realms is run by Mojang - creators of Minecraft."

Some of the features of Realms include:

Easy to use

Once you're logged into Minecraft, Realms is just a few clicks away. It won't require you to set up LAN networks, configure IPs, or mess about with ports. We've already done that for you. It's the easiest way to host an infinitely big, personal, and private Minecraft world.

Good value

Only the host of a Realms server needs to pay a subscription fee. They will be available via the Mojang account page or through a link in-game, and will initially come in 1, 3, or 6 month packages. The price is £8/month, but if you choose a bigger package you'll get a better deal.

Safe and secure

Only invited players can join a Realms server, and the host can add or remove players from their approved list with a few clicks. Worlds gets automatically backed up at regular intervals, and the host can restore their Realm to a previously saved state at any point.

Always available

Realms servers are always online, even if the host isn't logged in. Up to 20 players can be invited to a Realms server, and up to 10 of them can play at any one time. Inviting players and accepting invitations is a simple process that happens from within your Minecraft client.

Source: minecraft.com