|— minecraft.net on Minecraft Earth|
Minecraft Earth was a free-to-play augmented reality (AR) spin-off mobile game developed by Mojang Studios and published by Xbox Game Studios for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. The game was about building structures and collecting materials by traveling to real-life locations. Minecraft Earth was released in closed beta on July 16, 2019, and gradually expanded its available countries over the rest of 2019, being released worldwide on December 11, 2019. The game received its final update, 0.33.0, on January 5, 2021, and was discontinued on June 30, 2021, due to restrictions on outdoor activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next day, all players that had a remaining paid balance of Rubies were given Minecoins, and players who purchased anything in the game received a copy of Bedrock Edition in return.
Minecraft Earth was an adaptation of the traditional Minecraft experience to an augmented-reality setting, similarly to Ingress and Pokémon Go. The game itself was built on the Bedrock engine. It featured many unique gameplay aspects and interactions similar to the main game.
Minecraft Earth required an Xbox Live account.
The game used Microsoft Azure Spatial Anchors along with OpenStreetMap to power location-based gameplay. The technology synced the position of buildplates in multi-player by referencing objects in the real world, creating a seamless experience.
In Minecraft Earth, players were allowed to build structures with other players and "place them in the real world at life-size".
In the map view, players were allowed to see their character, which was able to be changed with skins owned from the marketplace or generated using the Character Creator. Scattered around the maps were tappables. If a tappable was within a player's collection range, the player could tap it and collect items. There were multiple types of tappables, including stone, grass, pond, chests, and mobs.
Adventures appeared on the map but were also allowed to be spawned using Adventure Crystals. Adventures were the survival aspect of Minecraft Earth. Players were allowed to fight mobs, collect additional resources that are unavailable with tappables, and collect rewards. Adventures were only allowed to be played in life-size mode.
Buildplates were 8×8, 16×16 or 32×32 blocks in size, and their build height limit was 221 blocks. From ground level, a buildplate also extended downward in varying depth, depending on the buildplate. The minimum depth before bedrock appeared after digging down was 3 blocks and the buildplate with the maximum recorded depth was 12 blocks
Using the shop, players were allowed to buy new plots using rubies. Plots were also earned via a leveling system.
Buildplates functioned like personal realms and were used anywhere. They ran in the Bedrock Engine, meaning redstone, physics, and other mechanics were identical to Bedrock Edition. Players were allowed to invite friends to build with them locally and then share the world to others via a link.
A player was allowed to interact with a buildplate in miniature and life-size modes. In miniature mode, the buildplate functioned the same as creative mode in Minecraft, allowing the player to build structures and populate the buildplate with mobs. In life-size mode, the buildplate functioned the same as survival mode, in which the player must use tools to interact with blocks. Hostile mobs on the buildplate attacked the player, and the player could lose health and life.
A planned feature for buildplates that was announced but never implemented was the ability to pin buildplates on the map for other players to view publicly.
Buildplates were also allowed to be shared via a link, so players didn't need to be in the same location as the creator to see creations. The links shared were either temporary or never expiring. Mojang Studios claimed to have a 24/7 moderation team, reviewing and looking at reports of inappropriate builds.
Minecraft Earth adventures had their own buildplates, with predefined above-ground and underground structures and hostile mobs. Like user buildplates, an adventure plate was only allowed to be placed somewhere on the ground before interacting with it. Adventure buildplates weren't able to be saved or moved by a player although multiple players were allowed to interact with the same adventure at the same time.
Similar to advancements in Java Edition and achievements in Bedrock Edition, challenges were tasks given to player to guide the player. Unlike advancements, there were 3 types of challenges: Daily, Seasonal, and Tappable challenges. These challenges involved individual tasks; the player obtained rubies, experience, and credit after completing. For example, if player's task is to collect 6 ferns, and another challenge is to collect 4 ferns, and the player gets 2 ferns, it would apply to both tasks.
Gameplay differences from regular Minecraft
Minecraft Earth offered somewhat different mechanics to players more familiar with Java or Bedrock editions of Minecraft. These differences included:
- The game was basically two-dimensional; that is, while one can build upward and dig downward, a player wasn't able to climb or descend unless a real-world structure was available for climbing and descending.
- There was no daylight cycle. Buildplates and adventures always had the same lighting regardless of the real-world time of day. Some buildplates were available with night illumination.
- Inventory was effectively unlimited, both in inventory slots and the stack size of items or blocks.
- There was no inventory crafting grid, and no way to repair damaged items by combining them.
- There were no armor slots in the inventory.
- Mobs were allowed to be collected, and achievements were earned for collecting them. Occasionally a tappable dropped a hostile mob that was allowed to be collected and placed on a buildplate.
- Inventory was unaffected by death, as it was inaccessible during adventures. Only items in the hotbar and backpack (the items collected during an adventure) were lost.
- Both crafting and smelting took time, sometimes several minutes (or even hours) depending on the item. Like smelting in regular Minecraft, the player was allowed to exit the crafting or smelting interface to do other things while the process completes.
- Several items weren't able to be crafted at all, such as chests, crafting tables, armor, villager workstations, fishing rods, and anything related to enchantments or potions (anvils, enchanting tables, brewing stands, etc.).
- Tools and melee weapons had infinite range.
- Health and hunger were combined into one health gauge bar. Health was depleted by mob attacks, and restored by eating food.
- Food wasn't allowed to be cooked in survival mode (i.e. during an adventure), and was only allowed to be cooked outside of an adventure. Food was allowed to be eaten during an adventure and outside of an adventure.
- Iron ingots were available only by smelting iron ore, which was rare and never dropped by tappables. Iron ore was obtained only via mining during an adventure, provided the adventure included any iron at all, and rarely when killing zombies, similar to Vanilla Minecraft.
- There was no way to craft or wear armor in the game. A player used tactics rather than armor for protection. Players were also allowed to obtain different clothing items, but these offer no armor protection.
- Chests weren't able to be found as items, crafted, or stored in the player's inventory. They existed only as tappables.
- Ladders were available for construction but weren't able to be climbed.
- Obsidian didn't exist and wasn't allowed to be created. Lava flowing into water formed cobblestone, but lava was unaffected by water flowing onto it.
- Mini boosts were figurines that were tapped to the device's NFC reader giving temporary boosts to stats in-game, such as better defense or attack strength. Only five can be used at a time and the same boost.
- Adventure crystals were added for people isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adventure crystals allowed a player to experience a small, medium, large or huge adventure without having to go outside, provided the adventure had enough open area. They later ended be being a permanent feature to the game.
Rubies were used to:
- Purchase buildplates
- Purchase boosts
- Purchase second and third slots for crafting and smelting
- Speed up crafting and smelting tasks
Minecoins were also used as a secondary currency in Minecraft Earth, for purchasing skins and clothing.
During Microsoft Build 2015, Microsoft's HoloLens team unveiled an augmented reality version of Minecraft. On May 6, 2019, Microsoft released a video on YouTube, where some features from Minecraft Earth were shown. On May 8, 2019, a trailer was released, showing some AR mods in Minecraft Earth. On Minecraft's 10th anniversary (May 17, 2019), Minecraft Earth was officially announced.
iOS and iPadOS
The closed beta for Minecraft Earth was launched for AR-compatible devices running iOS and iPadOS in the cities listed below.
|Closed beta launch date||City|
|July 16, 2019|
|July 17, 2019|
|July 18, 2019||Mexico City, Mexico|
The closed beta for Minecraft Earth was launched for AR-compatible devices running Android in the same five cities the iOS closed beta was launched in.
|Date||Cities of the closed beta launch||Notes|
|August 22, 2019||—||Pre-registration for the full game on the Google Play Store and registration for the closed beta on the Minecraft Earth site becomes available.|
|August 30, 2019||London, England
Seattle, Washington, United States
Mexico City, Mexico
|This closed beta was launched in the same cities as the closed beta for iOS already was launched in.|
|Early access launch date||Version||Country|
|October 17, 2019||0.5.0||Iceland, New Zealand|
|October 29, 2019||0.6.0||Australia, Mexico, Sweden|
|October 31, 2019||0.6.1||Canada, the Philippines, South Korea|
|November 5, 2019||—||United Kingdom|
|November 12, 2019||0.7.0||United States|
|November 19, 2019||0.7.1||Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland|
|November 21, 2019||—||India|
|December 11, 2019||0.8.0||Most countries worldwide, excluding Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Mainland China, Myanmar, North Korea, and Sudan.|
On January 5, 2021, Mojang Studios released the final update to Minecraft Earth, 0.33.0, and announced that the game's servers would be taken offline after June 30, 2021, citing the current global situation. On that day, the game was removed from the respective app stores. Players who open the app after that date are greeted with this message, which includes a link to information about the shutdown:
Returning players who logged in before the discontinuation received an exclusive Character creator “Hero” outfit set. Moreover, any returning player who had a remaining paid ruby balance before the shutdown would receive a free copy of Minecraft: Bedrock Edition.
According to the FAQ page:
|Minimum version||iOS 12 or iPadOS||Android Oreo (8.0)|
- This was the third Minecraft spin-off game to be discontinued, the first was Minecraft: Story Mode and the second was Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two.
- This was the second game to use Bedrock engine, after Bedrock Edition.
- Because of that, unused textures for shulkers (unimplemented due to The End not existing in the game), cameras, agents, etc. were found in texture files.
- One of the game's songs, "Earth", was featured as a newly arranged track in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of Challenger Pack 7.
The official poster on exploring in Minecraft Earth. Endermen are not in Minecraft Earth however.
A muddy pig viewed both on a mobile device and in the world.
- "LONDON and SEATTLE, you're up! As the first two cities to go live in the Minecraft Earth closed beta, all eyes are on you and your life-sized minetacular (specblockular?) creations!" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, July 16, 2019
- "Minecraft Earth is here! Starting today, we will begin to roll out early access from country to country, starting with: 🇳🇿 New Zealand 🇮🇸 Iceland Not a citizen of either land? Stay tuned as we announce the next countries soon!" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, October 17, 2019
- "We've saved up all our wool to roll out the red carpet. Over the next 24 hours, Minecraft Earth early access will become available in countries all across the world! Navigate over to your app store of choice to start crafting in real life." – @minecraftearth on Twitter, December 11, 2019
- Minecraft Earth – Apps on Google Play
- Google Play
- Minecraft Earth on the App Store
- Google Play
- "Minecraft Earth is coming to an end" – Minecraft.net, January 5, 2021
- "Earth FAQ" – Minecraft.net, May 17, 2019.
- Minecraft Earth developer Pyroclasm provided this information when asked about it on the Minecraft Earth Discord server.
- This was the default 8x8 jungle buildplate rewarded for reaching level 15.
- "Hey, we absolutely will keep them! We added them because they're a great experience and we know players are really enjoying them!" - SevralTimez
- "HoloLens games are too good for HoloLens" – The Verge, June 17, 2015.
- "What's Minecraft up to?"
- "Seattle and London are already live, and now it's time to welcome STOCKHOLM to the block party! Södermalm or Kungsholmen, which part of the city will prove to be the most creative?" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, July 17, 2019
- "TOKYO! Home of the historical and the hyper-modern, cat cafés and muddy pigs. Wait, what? Yes! Tokyo is the fourth city to join the Minecraft Earth closed beta." – @Minecraftearth on Twitter, July 17, 2019
- "The Minecraft Earth closed beta is now live in MEXICO CITY! Five cities are up and running – we can't wait to see what you create!" – @Minecraftearth on Twitter, July 18, 2019
- "Minecraft Earth closed beta now on Android" – Minecraft.net, August 30, 2019
- "Minecraft Earth Early Access" – Minecraft.net, October 17, 2019
- "Early access is in full swing and rolling out around the world! We're working around the block to bring everyone into Minecraft Earth. Here are today's countries:
More info on our early access plans 👇 ..." – @MinecraftEarth on Twitter, October 29, 2019
- "Queued up and ready to go! Today, three additional countries join the Minecraft Earth early access. Say hi to:
🇰🇷 South Korea
🇵🇭 Philippines" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, October 31, 2019
- "Tea, crumpets – and now also Minecraft Earth! Early access has arrived in the 🇬🇧 United Kingdom. Jolly good! Read more at: ↣ https://redsto.ne/minecraftearth ↢" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, November 5, 2019
- "Hey 🇺🇸 United States, we found your Minecraft Earth invite, it was behind the couch this whole time! Welcome to early access! More information at: ↣ http://redsto.ne/minecraftearth ↢" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, November 12, 2019
- "More countries need to join the early access? Well, alright then! Now LIVE in:
Learn more: ↣ http://redsto.ne/minecraftearth ↢" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, November 19, 2019
- "Time to get to tappin', players of 🇮🇳India! Minecraft Earth early access has arrived and is going live across the country. Enjoy!
↣ http://redsto.ne/minecraftearth ↢" – @minecraftearth on Twitter, November 21, 2019