Microsoft Reveals New Augmented Reality Mobile Game 'Minecraft Earth'

by

Microsoft today announced "Minecraft Earth," a new game coming to iOS and Android in beta this summer that uses augmented reality to place virtual Minecraft blocks and characters into the real world. Similar to Pokémon Go, Minecraft World requires players to venture outside to collect resources for building and to see what their friends have created around the neighborhood.


Game director Torfi Olafsson described the mobile game as an adaptation of Minecraft, and not a direct translation. Minecraft Earth will feature well-known items like redstone and typical Minecraft water physics, but the controls have been revamped for the new AR experience.

According to Olafsson, the development team "covered the entire planet in Minecraft," meaning that places like lakes are locations you can fish and parks are great for chopping down trees for wood. Players will find "tapables" randomly placed around the world, which dispense building rewards and more, similar to Pokéstops in Pokémon Go.

Microsoft used maps based on OpenStreeMap data to place randomly generated "adventures" in the world. These can be peaceful interludes or dangerous risk-taking quests where you have the chance to lose your gear to Minecraft's many monsters.


Adventures are built for multiple people to play at once, and all players experience the same game on the exact same spot simultaneously, so they can fight the same monsters, break down the same structures, "and even stand in front of a friend to block them from physically killing a virtual sheep," reported The Verge.

I sat for around 10 minutes creating a Minecraft build where I could see blocks flying onto the structure from someone next to me. They could also see everything I was doing in real time, and we could build together block by block. I could, if I wanted to, also steal my friend’s blocks here to create my own mega building. That introduces an interesting social dynamic because, unlike most games, you’ll be physically next to the person you’re stealing from in the virtual world.

“In order to steal, you would have to look up and go, ‘Hmm, I’m going to take your blocks,’” says Saxs Persson, creative director of Minecraft. “Shenanigans will come from when people have different opinions about what needs to happen, or they band together and do something meaningful.”

Microsoft says that Minecraft Earth will launch in a closed beta this summer, but it's not clear how many players will gain access at that launch. Monetization also hasn't been finalized yet, but Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty said, "I have total confidence that the team will figure out what the right monetization is for the game." In the demo seen by reporters, a marketplace section was spotted where players will likely be able to buy various building items and avatar gear.


The Verge predicted that we might see more of Minecraft Earth at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Demos for the game were showcased on the iPhone XS, and the site called Minecraft Earth "the best demonstration of augmented reality on an iPhone" it's ever seen. Apple usually showcases ARKit-related apps and software at WWDC, last year demonstrating ARKit 2 through the LEGO Playgrounds game.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
19 months ago
Wow.

Just imagine some CAD software and a team of engineers in the same room designing stuff with AR glasses.

Or maybe ATC’s who can see aircraft in a 3D airspace.

This is the future of not only convenience, but development. Be it Microsoft, Apple, or Google.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago
How long until a player walks into a car, gets stuck in a cave, or has a fight in the real world over virtual blocks?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago

Wow.

Just imagine some CAD software and a team of engineers in the same room designing stuff with AR glasses.

Or maybe ATC’s who can see aircraft in a 3D airspace.

This is the future of not only convenience, but development. Be it Microsoft, Apple, or Google.

Prototypes of these are already in place. The current hurdle is FoV of the glasses.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago
I'm still waiting for a must have AR app. This is a cute novelty.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago
“meaning that places like lakes are locations you can fish and parks are great for chopping down trees for wood.”

For a moment, I envisioned a hundred million kids with a motivation to run out to every park in the country and actually chop down all the trees. Making a version or update of a massive game where a plausible narrative & role are offered & AR rewards could be had for real world actions, would be an interesting way of enlisting a huge number of arms and legs to run out into the world and cause some real meaningful damage.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago

Augmented reality will take off when there are lightweight glasses available with good battery life.

Or when someone creates something genuinely fun or useful.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

iPhone 12 Models Might Support Reverse Charging of Future Apple Accessories According to FCC Filing

Tuesday October 27, 2020 6:25 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 models could have an inactive wireless charging feature for accessories, according to an FCC filing discovered by VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz. In the filing, Apple said that 2020 iPhones support a wireless charging function that will seemingly be enabled for at least one future Apple accessory:In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones...