Microsoft is closing down its Minecraft Earth mobile game in June, due to the ongoing pandemic. The ambitious game had aimed to rival Pokémon Go and cover the world in virtual blocks for players to meet and play together.
“Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation,” says the Minecraft team. “As a result, we have made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021.”
The final build of the game is being released today, which reduces the amount of time it takes to craft in the game and the cost of certain materials. It’s designed to let players craft and build more easily and safely at home in the coming months before the game is disabled on June 30th.
Players will no longer be able to download or play Minecraft Earth after June 30th, and Microsoft is deleting player data on July 1st.
Minecraft Earth aimed to cover the world in virtual blocks. Image: Microsoft
Microsoft first unveiled Minecraft Earth in May 2019. The idea was to recreate the experience of playing Minecraft in the real world through augmented reality and to allow players to build virtual buildings out of materials. The game focused on social interactions with others, and it was part of a bigger effort across Microsoft to leverage the help of the HoloLens and Azure cloud server teams. Before the game’s release, Apple even invited Microsoft onstage at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to demonstrate the new title.
Players will now no longer be able to purchase items in Minecraft Earth, and any paid ruby balances will be converted into Minecoins which you can use to buy skins, maps, and mini-games in the Minecraft Marketplace.
“We’re eternally grateful for the amazing talent in the Minecraft community,” says the Minecraft team. “This was not an easy decision, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure you get the most out of Minecraft Earth before it sunsets.”