Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away. I am sure one of the company’s favorite pastimes is trolling customers by teasing cool features and then simply removing them. For example, take this week when a preview revealed the start of testing for Ray Tracing for Minecraft on Xbox Series X. Well, Microsoft now says that was a mistake and has removed it.

Ray tracing is a technology that boosts light quality, making games look graphically better. It has been available on Minecraft for Windows for some time. Xbox Series X and Xbox Serie S both support ray tracing, so gamers have been awaiting support for Minecraft on consoles.

This week, Microsoft’s preview through the Xbox Insider Program seemed to be ending the wait. No, not if Microsoft has anything to do with it. Now the company says the preview was an error:

“The previous Minecraft Preview build available to Xbox Insiders inadvertently included prototype code for ray tracing support on Xbox consoles,” says the Minecraft team in a tweet. “This early prototype code has been removed from Preview and doesn’t signal near future plans to bring raytracing support to consoles.”

Not Gone Forever

Ray tracing is a technology that allows hardware acceleration on the new consoles. With ray tracing, the Series X has better dynamic shadows, physics-based lighting effects, and dynamic shadows. Nvidia’s RTX graphics card with path-traced ray tracing is now part of Minecraft on Windows.

When the preview dropped this week, there were some indications it was not ready. Insiders would need resource packs in Minecraft to enable the feature. Getting those packs installed on an Xbox is complex, so users would need to create a Minecraft session on Windows and accept their Xbox account to join.

Yes, hardly a seamless experience. Maybe Microsoft is correct to remove the preview and focus on getting ray tracing directly on Minecraft.

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