Minecraft just celebrated its ten year anniversary, which has been considered quite the achievement on account of the storm that the title has weathered with regards to its controversial creator. Now, it looks like the series is looking firmly towards the future; not only is the Minecraft movie on the horizon, but Minecraft Earth has also been announced for iOS and Android — the first augmented reality title of its kind.
Thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft and their Azure technology, Minecraft Earth aims to bring the appeal of the Minecraft franchises to as many screens as possible. Touted as being part of the game's 10-year anniversary celebration, this latest announcement from the game's team looks like it's aiming to change the AR game landscape as we know it.
In a trailer released on the official Minecraft YouTube channel, Minecraft Earth makes a stunning debut. The project appears to want to insert the charms of Minecraft into our world as we know it, whether it's transposing mundane landmarks into one-of-a-kind creations, or battling giant squids. Mechanically, the game is about finding things called Tappables and Adventures. Tappables are things like blocks, mobs, and loot that you can interact with using your iOS or Android device as you're out in the world. Adventures, on the other hand, are like portals to Minecraft shenanigans that you and other players can team up to defeat: we're talking skeletons, lava, and creepers.
Minecraft Earth is definitely not going to skimp on another beloved aspect of the main game — building. There'll be something called Build Plates which aims to translate the experience from regular Minecraft to something a little more involved. Think of the world as one giant Minecraft server thanks to the Azure tech behind Minecraft Earth: players will build things that they can then share with others in AR spaces, in life-size scale. It looks like an incredibly collaborative-focused player experience, which is exactly the spirit that fans of the game have come to know and love. All the shiny new tech can't hurt, either.
For more updates on Minecraft Earth and to sign up for beta access coming this summer, head to the official Minecraft website. It's an ambitious offering from the development team, and its use of Microsoft's Azure tracking and PlayFab integration will be the first for an AR title of this scale and scope.
Minecraft Earth will be free-to-play and will not include any loot boxes, so we don't yet know how Microsoft plans to monetize the experience.
Minecraft Earth releases in beta later this summer for AR-capable iOS and Android devices.