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News 18 May 2019, 00:40

author: Michael Kulakowski

Minecraft Earth Announced - Microsoft Challenges Pokemon GO

Microsoft throws down the glove to Pokemon GO, announcing a new mobile production based on the hit Minecraft. Minecraft Earth will take advantage of augmented reality technology to enable shared adventures and building for people from all over the world.

This year Minecraft officially celebrates its 10th birthday. Since the acquisition of the IP rights by Microsoft, the Redmond Giants has been dynamically developing the brand, releasing new versions of the game, its spin-offs and supporting many other initiatives, such as the upcoming Hollywood adaptation of the series. The next step in the development of the cycle will be the announced today mobile title Minecraft Earth, which is to challenge the extremely popular titles such as Pokemon GO. The production, running on iOS and Android devices, will operate in a free-to-play model and use augmented reality technology, Azure computing power, as well as the experience that developers gained during the development of AR goggles by Microsoft, the HoloLens. The company hasn't even given an approximate date for the release of Minecraft Earth yet. We know so far that its closed beta will be launched this summer (probably only in the USA).

An early version of Minecraft Earth was shown to a group of journalists who were invited by Microsoft to one of their studios to test the game. That's how we got to know more about it. It is worth noting that the production is an adaptation of the classic Minecraft and is supposed to offer only a part of its functionality. All blocks and mobs will behave the same way as in the original, however, combat, crafting, equipment and collecting resources will be only partially similar.

The biggest attraction of the title is the construction mode, in which we can create our own constructions or large projects together with other players who are right next to us in the real world. We will have at our disposal construction boards of various sizes, unlocked along with the progress of the game. In the full version of the title, the constructions selected and accepted by the system can be set up in a real environment, as monuments visible to all game owners. The creators pointed out that they would like the whole earth to be filled with creations of the participants of the game in the future. Special algorithms and geostationary data collected from hundreds of players (GPS information, video recordings and photos) are to ensure that regardless of the camera in the phone, three-dimensional objects will not "fly on the screen", but give the impression of static and solid buildings e.g. in a busy street.

Minecraft Earth Announced - Microsoft Challenges Pokemon GO - picture #1
The production will be based on augmented reality technology and its creators will benefit from the experience gained in working on HoloLens.

However, in order to get the components necessary to build, we will have to go into the world. As with Pokemon GO, the title will encourage users to take long walks in the open air. On our way, we will come across randomly generated containers with small amounts of resources to start the dream construction. We will also obtain resources in specific and predetermined places. In city parks we will be able to e.g. cut down trees, and by water reservoirs, we will cast a fishing rod and catch fish. Developers use the OpenStreetMap website, which is developed and updated by users. All hotspots with resources are to be placed manually by the developers to prevent controversial situations, known to Pokemon GO owners, where players would enter without permission from private property, disrupt order, or misbehave in museums and other cultural venues. It is worth noting that with such an approach, the game has little chance for a simultaneous global debut and will be gradually released in other countries long after its release in the USA.

Minecraft Earth Announced - Microsoft Challenges Pokemon GO - picture #2
In the full version of the game, selected buildings of players will become monuments visible to all participants of the game in the real world.

The last big attraction of Minecraft Earth will be dynamically generated missions, known as "adventures". Completing them will allow us to quickly gain new levels of experience and necessary building materials. The objectives will be diverse, but will largely consist of eliminating various minecraft monsters, in a way known from the original game. However, it is important that many people can participate at the same time. During the adventure, they must, of course, gather in one place in the real world.

What is impressive is that the players will see each other in the virtual world in real time and interact with each other, e.g. fighting the same creature or sharing healing potions. The creators assure us that Minecraft Earth will read our positions so accurately that we will be able to hide our wounded friend from attack even with our own body. In order to avoid unpleasant behavior, the title will be deprived of any PvP elements. The goals set by developers here are extremely ambitious. It is difficult to say whether these promises will be fulfilled, especially if several dozen people can participate in a fight at the same time.

Minecraft Earth Announced - Microsoft Challenges Pokemon GO - picture #3
The title will offer many randomly generated cooperative missions, most of which will require us to fight against creatures.

Without a doubt, Minecraft Earth has the potential to become a global phenomenon and a golden egg-laying hen, just like Pokemon GO. In the early trial version made available to journalists, the production shop was switched off. Microsoft has not yet determined what will be sold in it, apart from the additional construction plates. We can imagine, however, that there will be packages with resources, various types of experience boosters, as well as equipment. Minecraft Earth will also have its own currency called Ruppe, which we will probably buy with real money. More information about the game should be available in the coming months.

  1. Minecraft Earth - official website
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