Among the Minecraft team's most ambitious undertakings has been the mobile augmented reality experience Minecraft Earth. After a summer of early access trials in just a few select cities, Microsoft announced that they're ready to expand these trials to users all around the world. And those expanded trials are set to kick off in October.
Announced at this year's MINECON Live keynote, the Minecraft Earth closed beta will begin to roll out at the start of October. The development team is set to introduce more countries on a week-to-week basis until the game is released worldwide by the end of the year. They'll continue taking user feedback and issuing regular updates in an effort to put together a polished product.
As for those who already have the early access version of Minecraft Earth, you can expect new content to debut alongside this worldwide rollout. Players can find new mob variants, crafting, and smelting. They'll also find a new multiplayer experience called Adventures, which Microsoft is noting is powered by its Azure Spatial Anchors technology. Adventures is where players can visit real-world locations that will decked out like small slices of a Minecraft world. While these areas will be filled with treasures and underground goodies, they can also be filled with hostile mobs, which will help feed into the feature's cooperative multiplayer element. Microsoft's ASA tech is being used to help direct players to points of interest, while also laying the Adventures content out in such a way that multiple users can engage with it.
Microsoft will continue to roll out new features as Minecraft Earth hits early access all over the world, including various safety features. Concerned parents can use Xbox Live account settings to adjust their children's safety and privacy settings, while everyone can take advantage of a reporting feature that will go out to live Minecraft Earth mods.
Minecraft Earth was first announced earlier this year, with the closed beta opening up first in Seattle and London. The premise is to explore your outside world, with the game using AR tech to blend in Minecraft mechanics. Players can then use their materials on their own Buildplates to exercise their creativity.
Sign-ups for Minecraft Earth's early access are currently open on the Google Play store for Android users. No word on sign-ups for iOS users just yet.