Microsoft Announces Minecraft Earth, A Minecraft Version Of Pokemon GO

Minecraft Earth: block building game moves into the real world

Minecraft Earth, Microsoft's new mobile AR game, could be absolutely HUGE

A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft teased a Minecraft AR mobile game during their Build 2019 keynote.

Revealed earlier today, Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality mobile game that allows players to build something on your phone and then drop it into the real world for all to see, Speaking to The Verge, game director Olafsson described the game as "an adaptation, this is not a direct translation of Minecraft". The free-to-play iOS and Android game lets you explore the real world and build within it with Minecraft blocks. And according to Microsoft, the game stays very true to the core fundamentals of Minecraft, but there's been a blending of the traditional creative and survival modes.

Minecraft Earth could be a huge hit if Pokemon Go is anything to go by. Microsoft isn't yet talking about how players will be invited to spend money, beyond asserting up front that there won't be "loot boxes". Though Pokémon Go's popularity has faded somewhat since its spectacular launch in 2016, its success - with more than 800m downloads so far - shows how powerful it can be when beloved fictional universes are mashed up with the real world in augmented reality.

You will be able to take your skins from the Bedrock version of the game into Minecraft Earth, but beyond that, not a whole lot of cross-game integration is planned as of yet.

Alongside the classic structure building, Minecraft Earth will offer so-called dynamic adventures which are short missions where you can either team up or go solo to complete small quests.

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It's not clear how Microsoft and Mojang plan to monetize Minecraft Earth. Believe it or not, Minecraft is still popular amongst kids, and by bringing the game to the actual world makes it a lot more promising, especially if you don't want your kids to be stuck in their rooms playing games on their phone all day.

Even during our short demo, we managed to surprise the Minecraft developers by creating a mud slide that ended up covering a large portion of the environment.

The game also replicates Minecraft experiences in real-world places. There are no fixed timeframes as of writing as to when you can expect to get your hands on Minecraft Earth's virtual pickaxes, but we shouldn't be waiting too long. As PokeGO is more about catching monsters, it only needs to show the world around you when you're actually in the act of throwing a ball at them. If you're the parent of an Xbox Live child account, you will be able to use elevated privacy controls to protect youngsters.

While we don't have details just yet, it's pretty easy to speculate how monetization could work in Minecraft Earth.

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