Pokémon Go was a revolutionary step forward for AR gaming and although millions are still playing today, its impact somehow felt limited.
Marking its 10 year anniversary, Minecraft is going mobile with an augmented reality version. But there are also plenty of other advancements that made Minecraft Earth possible: Olafsson points to Microsoft's massive Azure datacenter presence around the world, huge investments in augmented reality, better Global Positioning System capabilities and faster mobile networks (especially upcoming 5G speeds).
"We have covered the entire planet in Minecraft", Torfi Olafsson, game director of Minecraft Earth told The Verge. It brings the world of Minecraft to your smartphone, and will allow you to interact with the world of Minecraft in the real world. In a FAQ, Microsoft says the game will not use loot boxes.
As you explore in Minecraft Earth, you can find treasure chests, clusters of blocks, or mobs that the company has nicknamed "Tappables". Though Pokémon Go's popularity has faded somewhat since its spectacular launch in 2016, its success - with more than 800m downloads so far - shows how powerful it can be when beloved fictional universes are mashed up with the real world in augmented reality. It will also allow for life-sized Minecraft buildings (or rooms, at least), in which users can team up and fight monsters. "We have to figure out how to expand the Minecraft universe, and that's how we landed on Minecraft Earth". The game will eventually go live all over the world, so you will be able to play it at some point. It's where you can use the resources you've collected to put your own creative spin on the game.
You won't have to wait too much longer to find out for yourself.
Minecraft Earth is slated to be released this summer, but an exact date was not given. Minecraft has already proven itself to be an unstoppable juggernaut, which is still growing after all these years.