Lobbies are great. Where else can you talk to a snooty hotel concierge, browse a selection of outdated magazines, or ponder whether or not you need to go to the toilet? They're also great in online games, providing an in-game common ground/nexus/stargate-command that's a wee bit more exciting than simply selecting servers from a list. PCGamesN (opens in new tab) report that developers HighlifeTTU and lazertester (as they are known on Reddit at least) have created such a lobby (opens in new tab) , complete with a swimming area, a lounge and even a dancefloor, for when you want to bust moves rather than blocks.
The lobby itself is basically a tiny Minecraft world, which can connect to "any number of servers" for "pretty much any number of players" via portals. There are also signs strewn about that provide server information, quick connection options, or direct you to the lounge where you can sit around and chat with admins or other players, or duke it out FOR YOUR VERY LIFE in the brawling pit. Yes, there's a brawling pit. Of course there's a brawling pit. (The team plan to include even more minigamey activities.)
As I understand it, the Central Lobby System should show up like any other server, but after you connect, you won't need to leave its confines to travel across worlds. The system is also currently only available in the US, but if all goes to plan the team aim to implement it across Europe and Australia too.
The lobby's creators shed some light (opens in new tab) on what this development might mean for the future of Minecraft. "All of this wouldn't be possible without the original proxy created by md_5. He has enabled us to take Minecraft to a level we never thought possible before. This proxy system opens up huge possibilities. Imagine a large MMO style server where a single world is broken into pieces and split among a cluster of servers. We have only begun to explore what is possible using this new proxy system."
Minecraft MMOs? Exciting stuff.