Microsoft to end Support for Minecraft Earth in June

Minecraft

In 2019, Microsoft studio Mojang combined the popular block-building videogame Minecraft with augmented reality (AR) to create Minecraft Earth, in a similar vein to Pokemon GO. Now, less than two years after launch the studio has confirmed Minecraft Earth will be closing down mid-2021.

Minecraft Earth

The shuttering is down to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, a major impediment for any geolocation title. “Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation,” notes a blog posting. “As a result, we have made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021.”

So from 30th June 30 all content and service support will be discontinued followed by the deletion of “Minecraft Earth player data unrelated to Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements,” on 1st July.

With only six months left Mojang has released a final update for Minecraft Earth halting all real-money transactions whilst reducing ruby costs, reducing the time required for crafting and smelting as well as granting players who sign in between now and 30th June a set of Character Creator items.

Minecraft Earth

When it comes to those that have purchased items Mojang confirms that “paid ruby balances will be granted Minecoins” which can be spent in the Minecraft Marketplace. Plus anyone who has made a purchase in Minecraft Earth will get a free copy of the Bedrock version of Minecraft.

Microsoft is still supporting immersive iterations of the standard Minecraft game, adding PlayStation VR functionality several months ago. There’s also still hope a version might come to Oculus Quest because Minecraft’s new rendering engine RenderDragon is using OpenXR. If that does come to pass, VRFocus will let you know.

Minecraft Earth wird im Sommer eingestellt

Nach weniger als zwei Jahren wird das AR-Projekt Minecraft Earth von Microsoft und Mojang bereits eingestellt. Schuld sei die aktuelle Corona-Pandemie.

Minecraft Earth wird im Sommer eingestellt

Wie das Team mitteilt, wird Minecraft Earth eingestellt, da die Anwendung auf eine freie Bewegung in der echten Welten mit realen anderen Menschen setzte. Zwei Dinge die durch den Lockdown derzeit nicht unbedingt angesagt seien. Deshalb wolle man die eigenen Ressourcen besser nutzen und sich auf andere Bereiche in Minecraft konzentrieren.

Damit ihr die Anwendung im vollen Umfang genießen könnt, bevor der Stecker gezogen wird, haben die Entwickler alle Bezahlfunktionen entfernt. Dennoch solltet ihr wissen, dass eure Bauwerke nur für kurze Zeit erhalten bleiben, denn am 1. Juni 2021 werden auch alle Daten zum Spiel auf den Servern gelöscht.

Wer bereits Geld in das Spiel investiert hat, soll mit Minecoins entschädigt werden, die auf dem Minecraft Marketplace genutzt werden können, um Skins und Co. für Minecraft zu kaufen. Zudem erhalten alle Menschen, die einen Kauf in Minecraft Earth getätigt haben, einen Key für Minecraft in der Bedrock-Version kostenlos.

Die komplette Mitteilung des Studios findet ihr hier.

(Quelle: Upload VR)

Der Beitrag Minecraft Earth wird im Sommer eingestellt zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!

Minecraft Earth Is Ending In June 2021 After Less Than Two Years

Microsoft and Mojang Studios are pulling the plug on Minecraft Earth after less than two years of live service.

A post on Minecraft.net announced the AR game will end in June 2021, after having just launched in October 2019.

“Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021,” the blog post explains.

Developers are implementing some short term changes to the game, including the removal of all real-money transactions, to allow players to enjoy the game before it is completely discontinued at the end of June.

“On June 30, we will discontinue all content and service support for the game. This means that we will stop all development, and after that date, you will be unable to download or play Minecraft Earth anymore,” the blog post explains. On July 1, we will delete any Minecraft Earth player data unrelated to Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements.”

Players with ruby balances “will be granted Minecoins” to use in the Minecraft Marketplace.

We hope that the decision to “re-allocate” resources means that a virtual reality version of Minecraft becomes a higher priority at Microsoft and Mojang. In mid-2020 Minecraft’s RenderDragon rendering engine was announced as having support for OpenXR — a specification that’s seeing broad industry support. While OpenXR adoption is still pretty early, we believe Microsoft likely sees it as a requirement to bring Minecraft to Oculus Quest.

Minecraft Earth Was Downloaded 1.2 Million Time In Its First Week In The US

Minecraft Earth (our coverage hub) came out in the U.S. in early access form on November 12, and the augmented reality take on the popular exploration and creation game hit 1.2 million downloads in the country in its first week, according to market analysts Sensor Tower.

Minecraft Earth is available for iOS and Android devices. You can use your smartphone’s camera to place a Minecraft world into the real one.

The free-to-play title is having a slow roll-out across the world during this early access phase, starting in Iceland and New Zealand in October. Minecraft Earth has been downloaded a total of 2.5 million times.

This is technically an early access period for the game, so it’s not entirely fair to compare it to other U.S. mobile AR launches. Still, to give you some idea, Pokémon Go had about 32.7 million installs in the U.S. in its first week. The more modest Harry Potter: Wizards Unite had 3.1 million.

The normal version of Minecraft is one of the biggest hits in gaming history, selling over 176 million copies.


This article by Mike Minotti originally appeared on VentureBeat.

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Minecraft Earth Is Finally Available In The United States

After gradually launching across a few smaller countries in the last few weeks, Minecraft Earth is finally available to download in the United States.

While the game is still in early access, anyone in a launch region can download and play the game. So far, those regions the United Kingdom, New Zealand, IcelandAustralia, Mexico, SwedenCanada, South Korea and the Philippines and, as of today, the United States.

The game takes classic Minecraft mechanics and merges them with map-based, AR gameplay similar to games like Pokemon Go. You can collect materials while walking around your neighborhood and then use them to build AR Minecraft structures with your phone’s camera.

We also posted our full impressions piece of the game earlier today as well. Here’s a brief snippet of what we thought:

“Minecraft Earth feels very well intertwined with the ideas in the original Minecraft game. It takes advantage of existing, well-known Minecraft mechanics in a new way that feels like your world is transforming around you. Unlike Wizards Unite, there is true magic at work here.”

That being said, the game also isn’t without its faults. You can read more here.

We also posted a preview video showing the core gameplay, including the AR elements, and some of the game’s main features. You can check that out above or over on our YouTube channel.

Will you be jumping into Minecraft Earth, now that it’s available in the US? Or have you already given it a spin? Let us know in the comments below.

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Minecraft Earth Impressions: A Magical, Yet Shallow, AR Goldmine

I’ve been a huge Minecraft fan since almost the beginning – I played the alpha that was embedded on the Minecraft site and then the downloadable beta version after that. I remember when the game finally “released” and hit patch 1.0. While I stopped playing regularly many years ago, I still consider myself a big fan.

So when Mojang announced Minecraft Earth, a map-based mobile AR game, I felt mixture of skepticism and curiosity. I’ve been spurned by similar AR games before, but was curious to see how Minecraft Earth might differentiate itself in the market. As more and more information came out about the game, including features like the “adventure” events, I started to feel that maybe there was enough to separate it from the competition and offer an experience built to Minecraft’s strengths.

tappables minecraft earth
“Tappables” appear around the map and grant you with materials to use on buildplates.

As I noted in my Wizards Unite hands-on, these mobile map-based AR games work best when the activities and actions of the game directly relate to the franchise itself. That’s why I consider Pokemon Go to be a much more successful game, from a conceptual standpoint, than Wizards Unite – the act of walking around and catching Pokemon ties in perfectly with the franchise, whereas catching creatures from the Harry Potter universe doesn’t feel like it’s leveraging that property to its true potential.

The good news is that Minecraft Earth feels very well intertwined with the ideas in the original Minecraft game. It takes advantage of existing, well-known Minecraft mechanics in a new way that feels like your world is transforming around you. Unlike Wizards Unite, there is true magic at work here.

Mining And Walking In Minecraft Earth

It was a 95° F day in Melbourne when I first booted up the game. I had my account logged in, my headphones ready and a battery pack on hand, but I’d by lying if I said I was excited to go walking around in the heat for a few hours. However, after 5 minutes with the game, that completely changed. I got stuck in a gameplay loop that made me forget where I was and what streets I was walking down, completely ignorant of the heat until I was well past dehydrated and needed to stop for a break.

The game places your avatar on a map that tracks your position akin to Pokemon Go. From the get go, you can see Minecraft animals and little structures of blocks (which the developers call “tappables”) spread around your map. In the distance, you might see a large shaft of light, marking one of the “adventure” events available to play by yourself or with friends. When you’re in range of a tappable, you can tap on it a few times (which simulates the visual effect of mining in Minecraft) and the game will grant you with a few materials, varying in rarity.

spiders adventure minecraft earth
Fighting spiders in one of the AR “adventure” events

Exploration rewards you with a stacked inventory full of materials, gathered from tappables and adventure events, that are taken straight from the original Minecraft game – dirt, cobblestone, sand etc. Even the beautifully familiar Minecraft soundtrack plays softly as you walk around, which weirdly helps create a connection between the world of Minecraft and the neighborhood you’re exploring.

I got completely immersed in the game for the first couple of hours – I had no idea what I would need materials for, or how I could use them, but I just kept going and collecting more. At home the next day, I realized that anything you collect in the world can then be used to build Minecraft structures and environments on ready-made “buildplates” in the game.

Buildplates

minecraft buildplate draft
Smaller scale versions of buildplates can be edited in AR before exploring a full-scale version.

The only currently available buildplates in Minecraft Earth are sized as 8×8 blocks or 16×16 blocks and they are somewhat similar to LEGO buildplates. The only way to edit those buildplates is via AR on your phone’s camera. You can place a small version of a buildplates on a table and start adding to it with the materials you gathered from your trip outside. Then, you can save that draft and load it as a full-scale, 1:1 version (with 1 Minecraft block equaling 1 meter wide). You, and any friends playing with you, can then use the AR display on your phone to walk through a full-scale version of the environment you built a few minutes ago.

It’s an incredibly cool concept that many younger Minecraft fans will probably love. I found the feature cool but struggled to see myself regularly using it. After playing around with the AR structures, I went searching for more things to do in the game. It turns out that everything in Minecraft Earth leads you back to collecting materials to use on buildplates. The adventure events were amusing, and I can see kids enjoying them, but the two I completed only granted a few (slightly rarer than usual) materials. You can smelt and craft things too but, unlike Minecraft, these complete over time in the background per item, with more complex items or materials taking longer to complete. Anything you either craft or smelt makes something new to use on buildplates. In some cases, you might craft a sword to take into an adventure event, but then the adventure only rewards you with more materials for buildplates.

minecraft ar structure baseplate
Your Minecraft “buildplates” can be placed down and explored in AR in full, 1:1 scale

This is where I started to grow frustrated with the game. There just isn’t much to do that isn’t grinding for materials for buildplates. It doesn’t help that the buildplates you start out with are quite limited. You unlock more as you level up, or you can purchase some fancier ones with the in-game currency, rubies. You can acquire rubies as you collect materials and explore, but you will realistically need to purchase some via an in-app purchase if you want to get the fancy buildplates anytime soon.

Granted, this whole loop of collect-and-build-and-repeat might be perfectly okay for a younger audience. They might want to collect as many materials as possible for days on end and rush home to put their new items on a buildplate. But for me, I quickly lost any inclination to interact with the buildplates after trying them, which made the rest of the game feel a little bit pointless.

Early Days For Minecraft Earth

There’s also no way to permanently place buildplates in a location on the map, for others to then explore in their own game even when you’re not playing. Others can join a buildplate session while you’re playing, but every buildplate you put down is temporary. It only exists for you and anyone you invite for as long as you’re interacting with it. If you could place buildplates down on real world locations permanently, it would be a game changer and make the world feel much more connected. Being able to permanently place things for others to then explore, and being able to explore others’ structures that you stumble upon in the world, would make everything feel like it’s building toward something.

Still, everything currently on offer might be enough to keep Minecraft’s audience coming back for more. It certainly feels immersive and amazing to walk around the world, collect materials and use them in AR building. You get that same feeling of wonder and excitement you get in the original Minecraft game. As I said, it’s still early days and the game is still in early access.

Maybe over time the development team will mine further down, make some changes and find a diamond. But for now, cobblestone works okay.

Minecraft Earth is launching gradually across regions, but is available now in early access most major countries, including the United States, the UK,  Australia and more.

This article and all recorded footage is based on time spent with Minecraft Earth using a Google Pixel 3XL running Android 10.

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Mobile AR Game Minecraft Earth Is Now Available In The United Kingdom

Death, taxes and Minecraft Earth launch countries – that’s what it feels like lately, with new launch countries for the mobile AR game popping up every few days. This time, it’s the United Kingdom’s turn to get building.

People living in the UK can now download the game, which is in early access and launching gradually worldwide, a few countries at a time. The United Kingdom joins New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, South Korea and the Philippines as launch countries. There is still no word on a United States launch, but given that the UK is one of the bigger markets that the game has launched in, a US launch might be coming soon.

The mobile AR game is Minecraft’s response to Pokemon Go and other map-based mobile games that get you out of the house and exploring the real world, intertwined with AR elements. You can build structures, craft weapons, collect materials by exploring your real-world neighborhood and fight monsters in AR during the “adventure” events scattered across the map.

While the game does share similarities to other map-based AR games, it also has its own nice Minecraft-spin to it that offers some nice points of difference. I’ve been able to try the game out here in Australia already, so you can expect a first impressions piece on the game soon.

What are your thoughts on Minecraft Earth? Have you tried the game out, and are you still waiting for it to launch in your country? Let us know in the comments below.

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Minecraft Earth Launches In More Countries, Now Available In Canada, South Korea, Philippines

The Minecraft Earth release schedule seems to be speeding up a bit – just a few days after the last batch of countries, the new AR mobile game is now available in Canada, South Korea and the Philippines.

The game, while still in early access, is now available publicly to anyone in Australia, Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Iceland. The release schedule is gradual, rolling out a few countries at a time. With Canada, Australia and South Korea now on the map, it looks like we’re getting closer to a release in some of the bigger markets like the US and the UK.

Minecraft Earth is Microsoft’s response to the mobile AR craze that started with Pokemon Go. You’ll have to get out of the house and explore the real world and use AR to build structures and complete “adventure” events set in the Minecraft universe. You can also collect materials, craft items and smelt resources just like you can in the original version of Minecraft, but not without a few changes to adapt it to the AR-based mobile platform.

I’ve been jumping into Minecraft Earth here and there since the Australian release last week, and it’s definitely an interesting spin on existing AR-based mobile games like PoGo or Wizards Unite. You can expect a first impressions piece, and other Minecraft Earth content, coming soon.

Have you been able to dive into Minecraft Earth already, or are you still waiting for the game to release in your country? Let us know in the comments below.

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