The next big thing in augmented reality is right around the corner – and it bears a name everyone will recognize.
The upcoming Minecraft Earth from Microsoft promises to bring the magic of Minecraft into the real world in much the same way that Pokemon Go did for the Pokemon universe.
Except for Minecraft Earth will probably go a whole lot further than Pokemon Go ever did.
The ambitions underpinning Minecraft Earth are about as epic as they can get.
Microsoft envisions nothing less than permanent or persistent AR structures in the real world.
If that doesn’t get you excited, we don’t know what will.
Unlike Pokemon Go which generates instanced encounters with various Pokemon, Minecraft Earth will be an organic experience where you interact with Minecraft’s characters in the real world as well as structures placed by other players.
Alex Kipman, of Hololens and Kinect fame, says of the game, “Minecraft Earth proposes to completely break the dogma that has lived with us in computing since the beginning: this idea of a single person that holds a single device to create a single experience…With Minecraft Earth, that’s no longer the case. The content is in the real world.”
The Verge describes the app as being in the formative stages though “impressive” nonetheless.
As far as the mechanics that underpin Minecraft Earth go, it seems that the game mode will be a hybrid of the creative and survival modes in the traditional Minecraft.
Game director for Minecraft Earth Torfi Olafsson says of the gameplay style, “This is an adaptation, this is not a direct translation of Minecraft…If you like building Redstone machines, or you’re used to how the water flows, or how sand falls down, it all works…We have tried to stay very true to the kind of core design pillars of Minecraft, and we’ve worked with the design team in Stockholm to make sure that the spirit of the game is carried through.”
That means you can expect unique mobs and creatures in Minecraft Earth that you wouldn’t see in the other versions of the game.
Like Pokemon Go, Minecraft Earth will encourage and reward exploration of your surroundings and will have some awareness of geographical features and even weather.
This means that, if you come upon a lake, Minecraft Earth will register it as such and allow you to “fish” there with the app.
One issue that Minecraft Earth will avoid that plagued Pokemon Go in the early years is that Minecraft Earth will not encourage you to go to locations like private homes, property, or businesses that don’t want that kind of interaction.
Further, the Hololens is being eyed as a potential vehicle for Minecraft Earth’s future. The current plans are to bring Minecraft Earth to smartphones this summer with other editions following as the first one succeeds.
What do you think? Does Minecraft Earth have Pokemon Go potential or is it all hype?
Let us know in the comments.