Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the first public release of Minecraft, version 0.0.10a, so as part of the celebrations, Mojang has unveiled a brand new title. Initially teased at the end of Satya Nadella's vision keynote on day one of Build 2019 was an announcement pinned for today, and that announcement is for Minecraft Earth.
This is an upcoming iOS and Android augmented reality (AR) game that's set to kick off its closed beta "this summer". As per the official FAQ, the game will not have any loot boxes, and will be rolled out gradually, supporting all languages vanilla Minecraft supports.
The activities in it pretty much mirror the regular game, with hostile mob combat, resource gathering, challenges, and more. Players can also collect various variants of regular mobs - some of which haven't been present in any variant of the game - in order to populate their builds.
Folks who've kept a close eye on what Microsoft's been up to in terms of gaming will no doubt remember the on-stage HoloLens demo involving the blocky sandbox game, which took place nearly four years ago. This looks very much like an evolution of said demo, with the accent being put on making it accessible to a broader audience. After all, folks aren't going to shell out $3,000+ for a HoloLens unit simply to play Minecraft. Making use of the AR-capable mobile device users already have is a much better approach.
Those interested in getting in the closed beta can sign up here. As a reward, you'll get a free Earth skin which also works with the multitude of other variants of the game, collectively referred to as Minecraft Bedrock.
To participate, you'll need to have a mobile device running at least Android 7 or iOS 10, a Microsoft or Xbox Live account, and the respective app store login (Apple or Google ID depending on platform).