Minecraft Earth Early Access Launches on iOS in the United States

Minecraft Earth, Microsoft's new augmented reality Minecraft game, is now available on iOS and Android devices in the United States.

Microsoft has been testing Minecraft Earth in other countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Sweden and South Korea, but now it is also available in an early access capacity in the U.S.


Minecraft Earth is designed to let users access a tabletop mode that displays Minecraft creations in the real world at life size, bringing Minecraft designs to life.


Gamers will be able to add a buildplate. creating an interactive Minecraft diorama. Tappables, which unlock in-game materials, will be able to be found in the real world, such as on a walk, and resources can be used for crafting and smelting. There are also monsters to encounter and other discoveries to make.


Multiple players can team up with one another to create structures together, and in adventure mode, there's an option to battle against hostile mobs to survive.

The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store, though it is a freemium title and "Minecoins" can be purchased in app.


This article, "Minecraft Earth Early Access Launches on iOS in the United States" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Microsoft Reveals New Augmented Reality Mobile Game ‘Minecraft Earth’

Microsoft today announced "Minecraft Earth," a new game coming to iOS and Android in beta this summer that uses augmented reality to place virtual Minecraft blocks and characters into the real world. Similar to Pokémon Go, Minecraft World requires players to venture outside to collect resources for building and to see what their friends have created around the neighborhood.


Game director Torfi Olafsson described the mobile game as an adaptation of Minecraft, and not a direct translation. Minecraft Earth will feature well-known items like redstone and typical Minecraft water physics, but the controls have been revamped for the new AR experience.

According to Olafsson, the development team "covered the entire planet in Minecraft," meaning that places like lakes are locations you can fish and parks are great for chopping down trees for wood. Players will find "tapables" randomly placed around the world, which dispense building rewards and more, similar to Pokéstops in Pokémon Go.

Microsoft used maps based on OpenStreeMap data to place randomly generated "adventures" in the world. These can be peaceful interludes or dangerous risk-taking quests where you have the chance to lose your gear to Minecraft's many monsters.


Adventures are built for multiple people to play at once, and all players experience the same game on the exact same spot simultaneously, so they can fight the same monsters, break down the same structures, "and even stand in front of a friend to block them from physically killing a virtual sheep," reported The Verge.
I sat for around 10 minutes creating a Minecraft build where I could see blocks flying onto the structure from someone next to me. They could also see everything I was doing in real time, and we could build together block by block. I could, if I wanted to, also steal my friend’s blocks here to create my own mega building. That introduces an interesting social dynamic because, unlike most games, you’ll be physically next to the person you’re stealing from in the virtual world.

“In order to steal, you would have to look up and go, ‘Hmm, I’m going to take your blocks,’” says Saxs Persson, creative director of Minecraft. “Shenanigans will come from when people have different opinions about what needs to happen, or they band together and do something meaningful.”
Microsoft says that Minecraft Earth will launch in a closed beta this summer, but it's not clear how many players will gain access at that launch. Monetization also hasn't been finalized yet, but Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty said, "I have total confidence that the team will figure out what the right monetization is for the game." In the demo seen by reporters, a marketplace section was spotted where players will likely be able to buy various building items and avatar gear.


The Verge predicted that we might see more of Minecraft Earth at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Demos for the game were showcased on the iPhone XS, and the site called Minecraft Earth "the best demonstration of augmented reality on an iPhone" it's ever seen. Apple usually showcases ARKit-related apps and software at WWDC, last year demonstrating ARKit 2 through the LEGO Playgrounds game.


This article, "Microsoft Reveals New Augmented Reality Mobile Game 'Minecraft Earth'" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Minecraft for Apple TV Discontinued Due to Lack of Players

Minecraft has reached its end of life on Apple TV. The game has been removed from the tvOS App Store through lack of sales, while existing owners of the near two-year-old title for Apple's set-top box are met with the following announcement upon launch:

Effective from Monday, 24 September, the Apple TV version of Minecraft will no longer be updated or supported. We're grateful to the Apple TV community for their support but we need to reallocate resources to the platforms that our players use the most. Don't worry though, you can continue to play Minecraft on Apple TV, keep building in your world and your Marketplace purchases (including Minecoins) will continue to be available.
The Apple TV Edition of the wildly popular multi-platform construction game was announced at Apple's October 2016 keynote, where its potential for cross-platform play was enthusiastically promoted. "You can build new worlds on your Apple TV, and play with your friends using iPhones and iPads," said CEO Tim Cook.

The game was officially launched two months later for $19.99, but despite the Minecraft franchise continuing to thrive on other platforms, it looks like the Apple TV version just didn't take off as Apple and developer Mojang had hoped.

The removal of the title appears to be the latest example of the video game industry's continuing lack of interest in the Apple TV, which ships with a touch-based remote rather than a dedicated game controller like typical game consoles do.


Initially, this meant developers were forced to build in support for Apple's remote as the primary controller, despite the fact that the Apple TV also works with third-party Bluetooth controllers. Apple eventually lifted the restriction following strong criticism, but other lingering issues like poor title discoverability on the App Store and a lack of game-oriented marketing or promotion for the Apple TV have hit the platform's gaming prospects hard.

Mojave's Minecraft: Story Mode, an adventure game based in the Minecraft universe, will continue to be available on Apple TV, while the Microsoft subsidiary said that it would issue full refunds on all purchases of Minecraft: Apple TV Edition made in the last 90 days of the game's availability. Players seeking more information or wanting to check on the status of a refund are advised to contact Apple Customer Service online or call 1-800-692-7753.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

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‘Minecraft: Education Edition’ to Launch on iPad in September

Mojang's classroom-focused "Minecraft: Education Edition" will launch on the iPad in September, allowing teachers to incorporate the game into their lesson plans for the new school year (via GeekWire). Minecraft: Education Edition first launched in November 2016 on macOS and Windows platforms, and since then teachers have used the game as a tool to teach students science, engineering, math, history, art, and more.

Image via GeekWire

Deirdre Quarnstrom, general manager of Minecraft education at Microsoft, confirmed that students on Windows, Mac, and iPad will all be able to play and connect to one another. The company says it decided to launch Minecraft: Education Edition on iPad due to the number of school districts that already support Apple's tablets in classrooms.
The reason Microsoft added iPad support was straightforward: School districts have iPads and want students to be able to learn about STEM and other subjects with Minecraft on Apple’s tablets in addition to the Windows 10 and Mac OS devices that can already run Education Edition.

However, making the Education Edition work with iPads required optimizing it for “pure touch input,” said Deirdre Quarnstrom, general manager of Minecraft Education at Microsoft. After testing it with a couple of schools, she said, “we’ve made sure it’s a great experience for touch” and will support newer Education Edition features introduced earlier this year.
Minecraft: Education Edition costs $5 per user, although volume pricing is available for larger schools. Those eligible to download Minecraft: Education Edition extend beyond normal public schools, and include libraries, museums, and individuals who are part of "nationally recognized home-school organizations."

There are also a few features that first launched in the Education Edition version of Minecraft that have begun appearing in the normal edition of the game, including a "Chemistry Resource Pack." With this pack, players have access to the full periodic table and can use a "Compound Creator" to build basic or complex substances.

Eventually, Quarnstrom says that Microsoft's goal is to "bring over all of the education features and give access to all players," except for the administrative classroom tools for teachers. "Bedrock" Minecraft (what the company refers to as the consumer version) is on 21 platforms, compared to Education Edition on three with the upcoming launch on iPad.

For teachers getting started with Minecraft: Education Edition, the game's website includes resources like pre-made lesson plans, helpful tutorials, and starter worlds that'll make it easier to acclimate students into the game's mechanics. There's also a "Minecraft Mentors" program that educates teachers on all of the basic principles of the game, along with how it can be adapted to their classrooms.


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