The arrival of "Minecraft Earth" albeit in an early access version further supports speculation that Microsoft is allocating resources for augmented reality. The AR title is currently available for the iOS and Android devices in the United States with more countries to follow soon. This highly anticipated mobile game made its debut in May and is developed by Mojang with the help of the Redmond-based tech firm. North America is currently the tenth country to experience the adventure.
Last month, Iceland, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines were granted early access, confirms Gizmodo. In order to play, players need a compatible mobile device running the latest firmware versions of iOS and Android. Next would be to have an active Microsoft or Xbox Live account in order to sign in.
"Minecraft Earth" takes the gameplay elements of the original and layers it upon the real world. Using the camera of smartphones and tablets with AR technology, players can start building structures and other familiar activities. The software is still in its early development stages, so bugs and issues are to be expected. Nonetheless, those who have been playing around with its features have good things to say about it.
Similar to other AR titles for mobile devices such as "Pokémon GO," gamers are tasked with exploring various areas to gather resources. These can then be used for crafting various elements within the game world. Online connectivity allows multiplayer interactions wherein players can build together or fight against enemies.
Microsoft already manufactures products intended for AR applications. Its HoloLens platform is now being used by various industries and designers for a while now. However, the prohibitive price point makes it unappealing to regular consumers. On the other hand, commercial demand is still high enough for the company to manufacture a second-generation model – the HoloLens 2.
Aside from "Minecraft Earth," Microsoft appears to be dabbling in technology other than AR. As detailed by reports, leaked patent application documents show what seems to a modular mat with a haptic feedback function. Additionally, it might be an accessory for what is speculated to be a new Kinect sensor that will probably ship with the Xbox Scarlett.