Microsoft Formally Announces Their AR Title, Minecraft Earth

Take the voxel builder outside and share your creations with the rest of the world.
Mojang has officially unveiled Minecraft Earth, their AR mobile title.
Mojang has officially unveiled Minecraft Earth, their AR mobile title. Mojang

Developer Mojang is looking to take some much-needed notes from Nintendo as it breaks away from known video game conventions, and into a broader horizon, fueled by the current generation’s fascination with smartphones.

I’m talking, of course, about the recent official announcement for Minecraft Earth, an augmented reality title that takes the voxel builder game from the comfort of your home and into the streets. Think of this as more of a LEGO building set that you can take around with you anywhere you go, powered by technology that has come a very long way since Poké​mon Go back in 2016.

Minecraft Earth proposes to completely break the dogma that has lived with us in computing since the beginning: this idea of a single person that holds a single device to create a single experience,” said Alex Kipman, best known for his work on Microsoft’s HoloLens and the Xbox Kinect, in an exclusive with The Verge. “With Minecraft Earth, that’s no longer the case. The content is in the real world.”

You can check out the official announcement trailer for Minecraft Earth below and see what it will offer once it hits smartphones in the near future.

While we can safely say that Microsoft’s HoloLens technology is still a few years away (at the very least) from becoming a viable commercial product, augmented reality technology has always been commercially available, as popularized by Niantic and Nintendo with the massive success of Pokémon Go. It therefore makes a lot of sense to try and capture the same magic, this time involving blocks of different types in an AR world layered on top of our very real one.

Minecraft Earth has four extensive features that players will be able to focus on. You can check out the official Minecraft Earth page for more details.

  • CREATE – the primary goal of Minecraft has always been to make your own creations through the clever use of different blocks, and Minecraft Earth is no exception. It just happens that your creations are now available to be seen in the real world for anyone with the app installed.
  • COLLECT – like Pokémon Go, you will be able to capture unique variants of mobs you’ll end up encountering in the augmented reality world. You can in turn use these creatures to populate your many builds.
  • COLLABORATE – Minecraft Earth will allow its players to collaborate with others on bigger and much more expansive projects. Expect to see towering creations soon, fueled fully by smartphone processors.
  • EXPLORE – the world of Minecraft Earth is a layer above our own, meaning you will be able to see another dimension fully populated by other people’s creations. Of course, like Minecraft, you will need resources to fund your next big thing, which is only possible if you explore for the materials needed.

A closed beta is coming for both Android and iOS devices this summer. You can sign up for the beta, as well as figure out more details about Minecraft Earth, here.

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