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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