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Microsoft Announces Release Date For Minecraft Earth AR Sandbox Mobile Game


Move over Halloween, this October is all about Minecraft Earth.

Returning once again to celebrate all things Minecraft, Mojang kicked off its annual MINECON Live event yesterday, revealing a bevy of new updates coming to the core experiences, a new cinematic for their upcoming spin-off title Minecraft Dungeons, as well as an official board game. 

Of course, the news we’ve been most anxiously awaiting is the public release date for Minecraft Earth, an upcoming augmented reality sandbox mobile experience that turns reality into one giant Minecraft biome, allowing you to craft, mine, and explore hidden dungeons across real-world environments.

Thankfully, our wishes were finally granted yesterday as Microsoft revealed that early access would begin rolling out to various countries beginning next month, with plans for global compatibility by the end of the year. 

“Our augmented reality mobile game is clearly the best thing involving a phone since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876,” states Mojang in their MINECON 2019 recap post. “Think that’s too braggy? Soon you’ll be able to decide for yourself, because we’re rolling out the Early Access version of the game next month!”

“Starting in October, Minecraft Earth will be coming to countries across the globe, and we plan to have it all over the Earth by the end of the year. Keep the Minecraft Earth page bookmarked for more updates.”

Similar to the GPS-based exploration featured in existing AR experiences such as Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Minecraft Earth will have you physically moving throughout the real world to discover new items, enemies, and mini-game experiences referred to as “Adventures.”

Microsoft Announces Release Date For Minecraft Earth AR Sandbox Mobile Game 1
Image Credit: Apple

As you explore, you’ll discover certain enemies and biomes tied to their real-world environment. For instance, a castle you discover near a river may feature several water-based elements or challenges, whereas a dungeon located in a forest may feature a woodland theme. 

Players can navigate these challenges and environments in two ways: tabletop mode or life-size mode. In tabletop mode, you look down upon the AR experience from a god-like perspective. You can move around objects and peak in closer for a better look. Motion capture technology allows your corresponding avatar to replicate a handful of your gestures, such as waving. In life-size mode, you shrink down into the Minecraft world itself, allowing you to physically walk around the digital environment as you would in the original game. 

Microsoft Announces Release Date For Minecraft Earth AR Sandbox Mobile Game 2
Image Credit: Microsoft, Mojang

Players are free to take on challenges and craft structures on their own, or team up with other players in the same physical space. While in life-size mode, players can even see each other layered both in front of and behind in-game object using a technology called ‘People Occlusion.’

Minecraft Earth early access will begin rolling out this October. No word yet on which countries will be receiving support first.

Feature Image Credit: Microsoft, Mojang

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