Mojang still has Minecraft Realms in alpha-testing but it did release some new information Wednesday for the subscription service such as when it will release and how many people are currently able to play on a server.
"A select group of players now have access to the Minecraft Realms limited alpha test,” Mojang developer Daniel Kaplan wrote in a FAQ. “Minecraft Realms is a service designed to let players play on a server together with minimal setup, and will be available to the public later this year.”
The alpha test is currently running with only four players per server but that limit is only in place for testing purposes. Kaplan is also quick to note that the Realms server subscription service is not required to play Minecraft but will be made available for those that want to easily setup their own server for the game. "Nothing will change regarding how you create, setup, or host servers today."
Cost has not been finalized yet but the initial reveal hinted at $10 to $15 a month. A single subscription will be good for a single server.
The Minecraft Realms alpha is an invite only affair but Kaplan does say that it will be available to the public this year. Knowing Mojang, this means a public beta release before the full official release.