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Due to the ongoing pandemic, Microsoft is closing down its Minecraft Earth mobile game in June. Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation. Minecraft Earth originally launched for mobile devices in the fall of 2019. Among other tweaks, the update does away with real-money transactions and drastically reduces the time it will take for players to craft and build things within the game.
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Latest developments: According to The Verge, “Microsoft is closing down its Minecraft Earth mobile game in June, due to the ongoing pandemic.” Players will not be able to download or play Minecraft Earth after June 30th and all player data will be deleted on July 1st.
Why it is important: Rumors about the shutting down of Minecraft Earth have raised questions about the future of AV gaming. Microsoft decided to release one last update of the game before its shutting down to allow players to enjoy their last moments with it.
More info: The update is a last chance for players to enjoy the game, therefore Microsoft made sure that it allows players faster and easier gaming, so that they can explore the game to the fullest before it is taken down.
The update reduces time requirements for building and smelting, removes real-money transactions and reduces ruby costs. Additionally, players who sign up between now and the 30th of June are granted a set of character creator items. MacRumors adds that “players with paid ruby balances will be granted Minecoins, which can be used on the Minecraft Marketplace to purchase skin and texture packs, maps, and minigames.” Microsoft has clearly thought out every aspect to ensure gamer satisfaction here.
Also, people who have spent money in Minecraft Earth during the life of the game will receive tokens that will allow them to download the Bedrock edition of Minecraft to their mobile devices.
The big picture: AR/VR is growing exceptionally in the times of COVID-19 as companies explore its various uses and push the boundaries of gaming. Despite the shutdown of Minecraft Earth, Microsoft keeps adding and improving their games. For example, Gamesradar noticed that the Caves and Cliffs: Part One update for Minecraft Bedrock Edition will feature the glow squid mob that was previously only available in Minecraft Earth. This allows the gamers to remain hopeful about the future of Minecraft as some features exclusive to Minecraft Earth will live on in other Minecraft games. It could also suggest that Microsoft is not giving up on Minecraft Earth entirely and may resume work on it when times are better.
What to look out for: While it is true that Minecraft will end support for Minecraft Earth at the end of June, they are not backing down from new technologies and ideas. The Verge states that the resources from Minecraft Earth will be used in other areas to bring value to Minecraft, so we can expect some exciting announcements in a couple of months.