In 2019, Microsoft studio Mojang combined the popular block-building videogame Minecraft with augmented reality (AR) to create Minecraft Earth, in a similar vein to Pokemon GO. Now, less than two years after launch the studio has confirmed Minecraft Earth will be closing down mid-2021.
The shuttering is down to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, a major impediment for any geolocation title. “Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation,” notes a blog posting. “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.”
So from 30th June 30 all content and service support will be discontinued followed by the deletion of “Minecraft Earth player data unrelated to Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements,” on 1st July.
With only six months left Mojang has released a final update for Minecraft Earth halting all real-money transactions whilst reducing ruby costs, reducing the time required for crafting and smelting as well as granting players who sign in between now and 30th June a set of Character Creator items.
When it comes to those that have purchased items Mojang confirms that “paid ruby balances will be granted Minecoins” which can be spent in the Minecraft Marketplace. Plus anyone who has made a purchase in Minecraft Earth will get a free copy of the Bedrock version of Minecraft.
Microsoft is still supporting immersive iterations of the standard Minecraft game, adding PlayStation VR functionality several months ago. There’s also still hope a version might come to Oculus Quest because Minecraft’s new rendering engine RenderDragon is using OpenXR. If that does come to pass, VRFocus will let you know.