Minecraft is getting an update to join players across platforms (minus the PlayStation) and a side effect from this will mean Minecraft players on the Nintendo Switch will need an Xbox Live login to play games online.
The head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed in an interview with GiantBomb “It’s an Xbox Live account; that’s our gaming social network,” when Jeff Gerstmann asked about logging into the game.
“We use Xbox Live as the way to make sure we know who our players are, controls around parental controls and other things that we put into our platform are there. And as you’re buying things in Minecraft, you want to make sure you have them available on other platforms, so we have to know who you are. If you have a realm that you’ve created on the PC and you want to get to it on the Switch, we have to have an identity system and we just use Xbox Live.”
In the interview it was also asked if Nintendo Switch players will be able to gain achievements if they are technically logged into Xbox’s systems and Spencer replied with “I don’t know yet, I’m guessing no and this is a collaborative relationship between Nintendo and I, they don’t have achievements on their platform”
Spencer goes onto to suggest he would love to add achievements into Minecraft on Switch but it does not seem likely due to differences between the platforms.