Microsoft unveils Minecraft Earth, the new AR hotness

Microsoft unveils Minecraft Earth, the new AR hotness

Forward-looking: Minecraft Earth could be exactly what the mobile gaming industry needs to further advance the idea of augmented reality gaming. Once dropped other gamers will be able to see and explore their friends creations. Much like Pokemon Go, you will be able to go around your neighbourhood and collect things from the Minecraft world, that includes things like animals, mobs, and more.

Microsoft's new game is not a direct translation of Minecraft but rather, an adaptation. You will be given total freedom to build structures, gather resources and express your creativity in the classic blocky Minecraft world.

At first glance, Minecraft Earth seems a bit like Pokémon Go, given that it seems to be location aware in some ways. In a FAQ, Microsoft says the game will not use loot boxes.

As with Pokemon Go, Minecraft Earth is made to be a social multiplayer game, with easy-to-join sessions for any nearby players. Simply sign up and cross your fingers if you want to take part.

During a demo of Minecraft Earth at developer Mojang's office in Stockholm, Shuber placed his own build of a tall, intricate castle on the reception area pool table. Just as in the game, there will be hostile mobs to look out for as well- but they'll be set against the backdrop of the real world.

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While little is now known about Minecraft Earth, Mojang did detail a few things players would be able to do. We dropped a few chickens and cows into the world, and cackled as they fell into the pit.

Minecraft Earth has clear potential to be a big deal for Microsoft, but more importantly for Minecraft fans, exploding from its pixellated roots into the real world. Beat all the enemies, and you're rewarded with useful stuff, likely to be blocks, weapons and armour.

As reported by The Verge, "We have covered the entire planet in Minecraft", explains Torfi Olafsson (game director).

Minecraft Earth will be free to play, with a closed beta kicking off this summer on iOS and Android AR-capable devices. As long as you have enough phones (or tablets with SIM cards), this is going to be a fascinating new family activity.

Also... it's been 10 years since Minecraft came out?