Mojang has announced that a closed beta for Minecraft Earth will be coming to iOS very soon. The augmented reality app will be launching for a limited number of players in select cities within two weeks.
The Android version will follow shortly after iOS, but it won’t all be smooth sailing. Microsoft says progress may be reset as the dev team tests new features. Players will also have to play at least every week or they’ll be kicked out.
Despite Minecraft’s appeal to a younger audience, participants will also have to be over eighteen years old. Naturally, you also have to be signed up for the closed beta, which you can still do here.
For the unfamiliar, Minecraft Earth is essentially Microsoft’s answer to Pokémon Go. Users see themselves on a map of their local area and can physically explore to find blocks and mobs. However, it’s worth noting that past that point, it varies significantly from Niantic’s effort.
Rather than battles, players use the blocks and mobs they’ve gathered to build in AR. They can do it on a table, or place it room scale in the world, with others able to see their creations as they walk around.
There’s also a collaborative element to Minecraft Earth. Friends can both see you build in real-time and drop or remove items. At WWDC 2019, Microsoft showed several iOS-specific features, such as motion tracking and person occlusion. Both platforms will also be able to enter the structures they build.
As well as the news, Mojang shared some screenshots and video gameplay. In all, it’s looking like a strong entry to the developing AR genre, though only time will tell if it faces the same issues with edge detection and bloat as Pokémon Go.