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Minecraft Earth is shutting down before it's even two years old
by João Carrasqueira
This may come as a shock to some, but Minecraft Earth still exists ever since it launched in October of 2019. However, that's set to change soon, as Microsoft-owned Mojang Studios announced today.
Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality game for smartphones based on the popular block-based open-world title. It was first announced in May 2019, and shown off live at Apple's WWDC that year. A public beta opened later that year, but the title seemingly failed to gain significant traction. The game allowed players to see Minecraft characters and environments in the real world, making use of the typical crafting mechanics to build out their inventory and explore further.
As of today, all paid transactions have been removed from the game, and many mechanics of the game have been made easier or more accessible so players can experience them before the game shuts down. Here's the full list of changes:
The game will shut down on June 30, after which date the game will be unavailable to download. The day after, all player data except Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements will be deleted. Players with rubies left in the game will have them converted to Minecoins, which can be used to purchase paid items in console and PC versions of Minecraft. Additionally, anyone who has spent money on Minecraft Earth will be given a copy of Minecraft proper.
It seems like Microsoft's mobile titles haven't been terribly successful, as just a few months ago, Gears Pop! suffered a similar fate in a similarly short period of time. As a reminder, servers for that game will be online until April 26.
By Hamza Jawad
Minecraft Marketplace New Year's Sale now live
by Hamza Jawad
Earlier this month, Minecraft with RTX left the beta stage, becoming available for Windows 10 players. A couple of weeks before Mojang and Nvidia's technical achievement, meanwhile, a Star Wars DLC themed after the fictional universe's original trilogy and The Mandalorian TV series was released in the Marketplace.
Now, with the holiday season having arrived, the Minecraft Marketplace New Year's Sale has gone live, bringing a flurry of discounts, and some freebies for good measure.
For starters, the "doorbusters" feature introduced at last year's 'Block' Friday sale is being brought back. These are essentially flash sales arriving in the form of two daily deals per day at 75% off for each item. The discounts this time around will be focused on creator content. Aside from this, up to 100 regular items will also be available at 33% off for the duration of the New Year's Sale. Notably, these regular items will refresh halfway through the sale, so make sure to keep that in mind if something catches your eye.
Finally, Tetrascape's New Year's 2021 skin pack is being offered to players for free. The item boasts traditional outfits from Brazil, South Africa, Phillipines, North America, and the United Kingdom. It can be claimed here.
Minecraft's New Year's Sale will be continuing from December 22 through January 4. The aforementioned midway refresh will take place on December 29, which marks the end of the sale's first week.
Nvidia 460.79 WHQL driver brings Cyberpunk 2077 and Minecraft with RTX support
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Cyberpunk 2077 is hours away from launch and Nvidia graphics card owners that will be jumping into the game now have a new Game Ready driver waiting for them with support for the title.
The new WHQL-certified 460.79 driver is a recommended install before playing CD Projekt RED's latest title, which features DLSS and ray tracing support exclusively on Nvidia RTX cards at launch. The latter feature will likely be extended to the new AMD ray tracing-capable GPUs at a later date.
Moreover, the driver delivers optimizations for the 'Minecraft with RTX' feature set that released out of beta just yesterday. The Bedrock Windows 10 version of the block-based sensation now offers path-traced ray tracing and DLSS for RTX-enabled Nvidia graphics cards. As the ray tracing build is now out of beta, players from other platforms can join in for cross-play also.
Over on the Nvidia Control Panel, users will now find two new options after installing this driver: Background Application Max Frame Rate control (Manage 3D Settings page) and Color Accuracy Mode (Display > Adjust Desktop Color Settings page). The G-Sync compatible monitor list has also increased by five displays, with Acer XV242Y, Acer XB273U NV, Gigabyte FI27Q-X, MSI MAG274R, and Philips 275M8RZ gaining support.
The fixed issues in this driver are as follows:
The known issues are these:
The new 460.79 WHQL-certified Game Ready driver is now available for download through the GeForce Experience app and the links below. The official release notes are here.
Download: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 | Windows 10 – Standard / DCH
Download: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 | Windows 10 - Standard / DCH
Minecraft with RTX leaves beta, available now for Windows 10 players
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The Mojang and Nvidia collaboration from earlier this year that experimented with adding ray tracing to Minecraft has left its beta state. Minecraft players on the Bedrock Windows 10 version with RTX-enabled Nvidia graphics cards can now use path-traced ray tracing and DLSS without needing the special Insider build.
10 RTX-enabled maps built to showcase the game's ray tracing capabilities can now be found on the Minecraft Marketplace for free. Cross-play and Realms support have also arrived to these worlds, letting players from other platforms join in, though only with standard visuals.
To lessen the impact of ray-traced visuals on RTX-enabled graphics cards, Nvidia offers DLSS. The company says that with the AI-powered Super Sampling technique, Minecraft with RTX will run over twice as fast, offering at least 60FPS at 1080p resolution on any GeForce RTX GPU. The company's highest-end graphics cards like the RTX 3080 and 3090 will be able to play the game with ray tracing at around 100FPS at 4K resolution when using DLSS.
Details on how to convert Java Minecraft worlds to ray-traced Bedrock ones can be found here, which also includes a guide on how to unenroll from the beta and upgrade to the standard version of Minecraft.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft's holiday 2020 commercial is all about Minecraft, Flight Simulator, and good dogs
by Rich Woods
Image via WinObs Today, Microsoft released this year's holiday advertisement. Last year's ad was centered around a little girl that used Skype Translate to talk to reindeer, but this one is all about the family dog.
It starts off with some sad music and the dog wandering around. First, the dog tries to get attention from the son playing Halo on Xbox, then from the mother that's on a Teams call. It heads over to the daughter that's playing Minecraft on a Surface Laptop, and at least she gives our good dog a smile before she goes back to ignoring it. Our good dog heads into another room where it can be ignored by the father, who's playing Flight Simulator on a Surface Studio. Frankly, it's a situation that we can all relate to a little more than we're comfortable admitting.
Dismayed and depressed at the neglect of his owners, our good dog stares out the window, and while another dog is staring back, it decides to lay down and fall asleep, dreaming of a better life.
And dream it does. The dog is taken into the world it deserves, flying in a plane in Flight Simulator, jumping around in Minecraft, on a conference call with a bunch of other good dogs, and more. The two dogs even play fetch for the Master Chief, actually bringing a grenade back to him after he throws it. they even roll around in the grass a bit on Bliss wallpaper.