”Minecraft Earth proposes to completely break the dogma that has lived with us in computing since the beginning: this idea of a single person that holds a single device to create a single experience,” says Kipman. “With Minecraft Earth, that’s no longer the case. The content is in the real world.”
Imagine sitting at home and building something in Minecraft on your phone and then dropping it into your local park for all of your friends to see it together at the same exact location. Minecraft Earth aims to transform AR gaming from single-person experiences into a living, breathing virtual world that’s shared by everyone. If Microsoft succeeds, you’ll be able to walk into a mall and point your phone’s camera at a McDonald’s Minecraft adventure while you’re eating a Big Mac or see your own giant structures next to actual buildings.
A closed beta is planned for this summer, likely to be limited geographically, with a gradual roll-out through the whole world.
The game allows players to collect Minecraft blocks as they walk around their neighborhoods, to engage in augmented reality mini-games in public spaces, and to create their own virtual buildings, which can be shared and explored.
I’ve spent a little time playing the game, and here’s the best way I can describe it: It’s a lot like Pokémon Go, except deeper, richer, more ambitious and more technically advanced.