Last month, more than 112 million people played Minecraft around the world. The size and passion of the Minecraft community continues to amaze us, and more importantly, inspires us to give players new and interesting ways to play the game that brings us all together. Each year at MINECON Live, we look forward to giving the community a peek into what’s new, what’s happening behind the scenes, and what’s to come in the months ahead.
Updates on Minecraft Earth
Some of what we shared today is about Minecraft Earth – a free-to-play mobile game that blends state-of-the-art technology with a new version of Minecraft built on the Bedrock engine. It’s a game that first got its inspiration from the Minecraft HoloLens demo at E3 in 2015 and has grown into one of the world’s first true augmented reality experiences on mobile.
Minecraft Earth has been in closed beta in five cities over the summer, and community feedback from the closed beta has helped us iterate on the game, getting us closer to being ready to release to a wider audience – which starts very soon. Similar to Minecraft, we want to make Minecraft Earth better over time, so we’re going to start releasing the game in Early Access in October and adding more countries each week until we’re worldwide by the end of the year.
Pre-registration for the Early Access version of Minecraft Earth is live for Android users around the world – you can sign up right here – and everyone should stay tuned to Minecraft.net/Earth for further updates.
The Early Access version of the game will bring new features that players in the closed beta have yet to play, including new mob variants, crafting and smelting, and our take on social multiplayer experiences called Adventures. Adventures are small slices of Minecraft worlds that you play in augmented reality in life size. For example, your sidewalk becomes a mine and there could be diamonds under your feet, or your local park may have Minecraft trees where skeletons lurk and you can fight them, dig down into the ground and discover an abandoned mine with treasures. But don’t go at it alone – some of those Adventures can include hostile mobs!
Adventures and so many other parts of Minecraft Earth rely on two critical Microsoft technologies. Azure PlayFab’s dedicated servers allow Minecraft Earth’s multiplayer gameplay to scale worldwide and is the power behind hosting both Buildplates and Adventures on behalf of players.
Azure Spatial Anchors (ASA) is an Azure Mixed Reality developer service that enables sharing and persistence of AR content. When you set off to your local park and find an abandoned mine with treasures, Minecraft Earth is using the ASA service to help guide different players to the same Adventure placement. Without any need for QR scanning, ASA helps the Adventure get magically placed and aligned correctly for all players at that location.
As we begin to roll the game out globally, we’re prioritizing player safety to make Minecraft Earth an enjoyable and welcoming experience for everyone. Players, parents and guardians will be able to use Xbox Live Account Management to adjust safety and privacy settings and a reporting system will allow players to report concerns like unsafe locations in-game and on our website. We’ll also have a moderation team available to manage and respond to reports. It’s important to us that all players feel safe and can contribute to a positive and inclusive Minecraft Earth community.
Additional MINECON Live News
Beyond Minecraft Earth, there’s so much more that we talked about today during MINECON Live. Here are just some of those amazing things:
- We introduced our next major game update for Minecraft called the Nether Update, which will add new biomes, mobs, structures, blocks and visual effects to the Nether to enhance its unique and scary atmosphere. We also showed off the new Target block which will act as a projectile hit-detector, two new biomes – the Soulsand Valley and Netherwart Forest, and the all-new Piglin Beasts and Piglin mobs. The Piglins introduce a new civilization to the Minecraft universe!
- Minecraft Dungeons is another new Minecraft experience that we’re incredibly excited to bring to our players next year. During MINECON Live, we premiered the opening cinematic trailer and demonstrated how local co-op gameplay works with friends. Plus, we reminded players that they can sign up for a chance to play the game early at Minecraft.net/Dungeons.
- We’re also bringing Bees and Beehives to the game. The Minecraft bees will help pollinate crops and flowers, and during MINECON Live we introduced the Honey Block that has many fun new mechanics like slowing down movement with its sticky texture. The bees will arrive to both Bedrock and Java before the holidays.
- Character Creator is a new, easy-to-use system to help players make a custom character in Minecraft. More than 100 features, including all hair, eyes, mouths, skin textures, facial hair, and body sizes will be available for free and there will also be a range of custom accessories, created by the Minecraft team, available for purchase. And yes, even capes will be coming to Bedrock for the first time, with a free Founder’s Cape available when Character Creator launches later this year! Plus, Character Creator will be available in the main game as well as Minecraft Earth and characters will sync between both games!
- Coming soon, Realms Plus is a new monthly subscription that represents an evolution from the typical Realms that players know and love today. With Realms Plus, just like before, players will have access to a 10-player Realm where you can invite all your friends to play with you, at no cost to them. But now, players will receive more than 50 pieces of content from the Minecraft Marketplace from more than 30 participating Minecraft Marketplace Partners at no extra cost, with new Marketplace content added each month.
- Minecraft: Builders & Biomes from Ravensburger is a new board game that brings Minecraft from screen to table. Developed in collaboration with Mojang, Minecraft: Builders & Biomes is the first Minecraft strategy board game ever created. It recreates the digital game in a shared, in-person experience complete with mobs to fight and a real block of resource cubes to mine. The game will be available in Europe starting in October and in the United States starting in November.
- Finally, we’re excited to share that next year will be the return of a physical MINECON experience, called Minecraft Festival, a three-day celebration that will feature interactive exhibits, inclusive gameplay, tournaments, exclusive merchandise and meet-and-greets with creators and Mojang developers, alongside our digital global broadcast. You can sign up for more information at minecraftfestival.com.
We want to thank you all for being a part of the amazing Minecraft community. We wouldn’t be where we are without you all today and we’re so glad to be able to celebrate with each and every one of you at MINECON Live.