'Minecraft Earth' puts a 'Pokémon Go' spin on the blocky building game

Yolanda Curtis
May 18, 2019

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

If Microsoft can pull off AR building without making it feel tedious, I could see this being just as big a hit as PokeGO, given Minecraft's vast, dedicated, youthful fanbase.

In celebration of Minecraft's tenth anniversary, Microsoft played its Pokemon GO card and released an augmented reality phone app that shows the game pasted over the real world, called Minecraft Earth. You can build with friends, and team up with others for mini-adventures. In fact, that figure of 176 million sold is likely enough to make Minecraft the best-selling video game of all time.

The objects you create in Minecraft Earth will always stay in the same place - regardless of who's looking at them.

While Microsoft isn't ready to talk about Minecraft Earth's monetization systems just yet, Merriam was eager to tell us what it wouldn't involve. In a FAQ, Microsoft says the game will not use loot boxes.

This is one area where Minecraft has a significant edge over Pokemon Go and other similar games. All it takes is you, your phone, and your imagination.

The whole experience begins with "tappables", the basic resource-gathering process in Minecraft Earth.

Players will be able to scratch that Pokémon Go itch by collecting, raising, and breeding mobs of your own. It's not clear exactly how they'll work, but McHugh described the mode as a "life-sized experience" that could incorporate things like lava and hostile or friendly mobs in addition to rarer resources. "We've actually taken maps of the entire world and converted them to Minecraft.". First up, if you sing up for the Beta you can get a free skin for Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Bedrock.

You won't have to wait too much longer to find out for yourself. If you're the parent of an Xbox Live child account, you will be able to use elevated privacy controls to protect youngsters.

Also... it's been 10 years since Minecraft came out? There's no word yet on an exact release date, but a limited beta will open this summer.

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