‘Minecraft Dungeon’ Coming Spring 2020 with Co-Op and Online Play

“Minecraft Dungeon” is set to launch in Spring 2020, it was announced during Microsoft’s E3 conference on Sunday.

Developed by Minecraft creator Mojang, “Minecraft Dungeons” is an action-adventure game inspired by classic dungeon crawlers. The game, which was first revealed during Minecon Earth in 2018, allows for up to four player co-op and both local and online play.

In “Minecraft Dungeon,” players can unlock dozens of unique items and weapon enchantments to unleash devastating special attacks, and explore treasure-filled levels as they quest to take out the evil Arch-Illager. You can check out the new gameplay trailer above.

E3 2019 is coming to Los Angeles on June 11 through 13, and we’ll cover all the highlights of the event here at Variety as well.

Minecraft Earth: How monetization works (and doesn't)

Microsoft just unveiled Minecraft Earth, bringing the augmented reality (AR) world of Pokemon Go and combining it with the social creativity of Minecraft. Players will be able to go adventure using their phones, be it Android and iOS, obtaining rare blocks, building huge structures, and collecting unique mobs for their own personal build spaces.

As a free-to-play game, Minecraft Earth raises the specter of some of gaming's most predatory monetization practices on mobile phones. Thankfully, Microsoft doesn't seem to be going down the same route other games have.

Speaking to Executive Producer Jesse Merriam, we learned that Minecraft Earth will have some form of funding model but it doesn't sound as though it'll be aggressive.

These Minecraft Wave Machines Are Extremely Satisfying To Watch

Minecraft is a game that lets players create basically anything they want, assuming that player has the time to do it. It also has Redstone, a resource that allows players to move, power and manipulate blocks in various ways. Combine this with the predictable and simple physics of Minecraft and you end up with some satisfying machines.

Over on the Minecraft subreddit, the community is making wave machines using different elements of Minecraft. For example, here’s a really cool wave machine using decorative armor stands.GIF: Sabinn16 (Reddit)

This one uses minecarts and would make a great screensaver if I used still used screensavers. 
GIF: Nathanie512 (Reddit)

Another player created one that looks like water using lapis lazuli and  reprogrammable command blocks.

A more colorful creation uses various sand blocks in different shades to create a rainbow wave. Perfect for Pride Month.GIF: inadequatetacos (Reddit)

While these machines have become popular recently, they aren’t exactly new. People have been making these types of machines for years in Minecraft. One large one was created back in 2011 using sand blocks and like the newer ones, it is very satisfying to watch.

If we ever get a Minecraft theme park, maybe we this could be an attraction? Everyone jumps into a minecart and rides the wave.

Minecraft: Story Mode is being pulled from stores on June 25th

Minecraft developer Mojang has announced that support for Minecraft: Story Mode is ending, and that players will have until June 25th, 2019, to download their episodes. The game’s delisting follows the disappearance of other games created by Telltale Games, which abruptly shut down last year.

Mojang says that because of Telltale’s closure, the game will no longer be supported as of June, and that players who purchased it will need to make sure to download it before it’s taken down for good. The game is the latest of Telltale’s creations to be pulled from stores: at the end of May, Kotaku reported that games such as Tales from the Borderlands was no longer available on Steam, and that storefront Good Old Games announced that it would no longer be selling Telltale’s games.THE GAME IS THE LATEST TELLTALE CREATION TO BE PULLED FROM SALE FOLLOWING THE STUDIO’S CLOSURE

Telltale Games announced the story-driven game back in 2014 and launched it in 2015, bringing a traditional narrative to the sandbox game through a series of episodic games that Telltale became known for. The game was available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, and iOS.

The game followed Jesse (voiced by Patton Oswalt), who, along with his friends, have to find the Order of the Stone, to prevent the destruction of their video game universe. At the time, Telltale’s director of creative communications Job Stauffer noted that the game was inspired a bit by classic films from the 1980s, like Ghostbusters and The Goonies: There was something magical about that generation of film before the PG-13 rating became commonplace that bred an incredible body of inspiration for us.”

The game ran for two seasons (Season 1 ran for eight episodes, and Season 2 ran for five episodes) between 2015 and 2017, and last year, Telltale Games signed a deal with Netflixto bring its games to the streaming service, and a five-episode season of Minecraft: Story Mode debuted in November.

Minecraft With Fancy Lighting Looks Great

Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders is a shaderpack that adds the kinds of effects we normally associate with ray-tracing— like light that’s able to bounce off other objects—to ol’ blocky-ass Minecraft, and do it while you’re playing in real-time.

It’s not technically ray-tracing (he’s actually using path-tracing), but the effects are still incredible. Here are some examples of it in action:

And here are some screens showing it off on some more traditional areas:

You can download what you need by pledging $10 over on Sonic Ether’s Patreon page. Just know that the effects here are software-based, so you’ll need a decent PC to get a good framerate.

Please Enjoy This Beautiful Minecraft House

As old as Minecraft is, I’ll never get tired of appreciating just how good it looks when people put the effort in. I know a lot of games can get modded to Hell and back and look great, but there’s something about the distance blocky ol’ Minecraft has to travel to get there that makes it particularly special.

Case in point: this absolutely stunning house, made by umsoea using all kinds of tricks like shaders and custom textures. The architecture is definitely helping sell the whole thing here; a modern house like this is naturally blocky, removing one of the great obstacles Minecraft builds tend to have before they can look “real”.

But neither that fact, or the framerate (it’s…bad) can take away from just how good this looks. This wasn’t built for smooth gameplay and digging underground, this was built to marvel at, and I’ve been doing a lot of that today.

You can find links to download the stuff you need for this here.

Best Official Minecraft Merchandise in 2019

Ever since its original debut way back in 2009 (if you can believe it), Minecraft has become a global gaming phenomenon, attracting millions of fans, young and old alike, to its incredibly addicting gameplay and easy-to-learn creation tools. Due to how popular it has become, Minecraft has become home to tons of high-quality merchandise items over the years. Here are our favorites.

Best adult shirt:Pig Riders Adult T-Shirt

Staff favorite

The Pig Riders Adult T-Shirt for adults is the perfect way to show your Minecraft spirit. The design is cool, yet not overly flashy in any way. In addition, it's made out of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, which ensures a nice balance between comfort and shrink-resistance.$10 at Minecraft

Best youth shirt:Midnight Chase Youth T-Shirt

The Midnight Chase Youth T-Shirt features an awesome-looking design with iconic Minecraft characters like Steve, zombies, and a creeper, and it's made with 100% ring-spun cotton for maximum comfort.$15 at Minecraft

Best Xbox:Minecraft Xbox One S

This 1TB Xbox One S model comes with an awesome-looking Minecraft skin that's reminiscent of the dirt blocks you see in-game. It comes with a sweet creeper-themed Xbox One controller, too.$335 at Amazon

Best Xbox controller:Creeper controller

This is the same controller that comes with the Minecraft Xbox One S, but it's sold separately. The sickly green creeper color looks super cool, and the controller also comes with textured grips for enhanced comfort and Minecraft font on the buttons.$58 at Amazon

Cute Xbox controller:Pig Xbox controller

The Pig Xbox controller features the iconic face and color of the adorable pigs you can find in Minecraft, and like the creeper-themed controller, the grips are textured and the ABXY buttons have Minecraft font on them.$60 at Amazon

Best costume:Steve Youth Costume

This Steve costume is a fantastic way for your little one to dress up Minecraft-style. It offers a boxy and easy-to-wear suit and a large, 10-inch mask that fits comfortably over a child's face.$33 at Minecraft

Best baseball cap:Creeper Rush Cap

The Creeper Rush Cap is the best baseball cap-style hat available officially for Minecraft, featuring a sleek black-and-green look with three creepers on the front. In addition, it's also got an awesome mesh back that helps keep your head cool in high heat.$20 at Minecraft

Best beanie:Creeper Stripe Beanie

The Creeper Stripe Beanie shares the same sleek black-and-green look as the Creeper Rush Cap, and its got a 100% acrylic knit construction that will keep the head warm in the cold.$20 at Minecraft

Best wallet:Spider Jockey Bi-fold Wallet

This neat little wallet features a cool design that will remind players of their spider-riding adventures, and it doesn't look overly crazy style or color-wise, which is great. Additionally, it has a translucent ID slot and five slots for various card types.$20 at Minecraft

Best backpack:Creepy Creeper Backpack

The Creepy Creeper backpack is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a new backpack. Its creeper-themed design is super cool, and it also has enough room inside for a full 17-inch laptop, books, and plenty of various other items.$30 at Minecraft

Best lunchbox:Dirt Block Lunchbox

The Dirt Block Lunchbox is a roomy 8.5-inch container perfect for holding your lunch throughout the day, and its design features a detailed rendition of the iconic Minecraft dirt block.$15 at Minecraft

Best plush:Grand Adventure Creeper Plush

The Grand Adventure Creeper Plush is a soft and fluffy 16-inch tall plush made out of polyester fibers, meaning that it's both fun to play with and comfortable for children to snuggle with in bed.$30 at Minecraft

Best action figure:Mining Steve Action Figure

The Mining Steve Action Figure is a fully-articulated, 5-inch action figure of the iconic Minecraft character Steve. In addition to the figure simply looking awesome, you can even make Steve swing his pickaxe, adding play value into the mix.$15 at Minecraft

Best LEGO set:LEGO Minecraft: The End Battle

The LEGO Minecraft: The End Battle set depicts the famous “final boss fight” of Minecraft, offering buyers Dragonslayer, Ender Dragon, and Enderman figures to build. They'll also get a code to unlock the Dragonslayer skin in-game.$20 at Minecraft

Runner-up LEGO set:LEGO Minecraft: The Melon Farm

The LEGO Minecraft: The Melon Farm set depicts a dangerous encounter between a creeper and Steve, his pig steed, and a villager. You also get a chest and a handful of food item pieces for setting up a diorama.$30 at Amazon

Best interactive toy:Light-up Adventure Sword

The Light-up Adventure Sword is an awesome handheld toy that looks like the sword from the game. It also lights up and makes cool sounds thanks to its triple AA batteries, with the first set of these included in the box.$35 at Minecraft

Best book:Minecraft Graphic Novel Volume 1

The Minecraft Graphic Novel is a new story that features protagonist Jack and his friends attempting to challenge and take down the infamous Ender Dragon. It's got 88 pages, so there's plenty of fun reading to be had here.$10 at Minecraft

Best bedding:Creeper Full Bed in a Bag

This 76-by-86-inch set features a full-sized comforter, fitted and flat sheets, and pillowcases make the perfect bedding set for any young Minecraft player. The design looks awesome, and the whole package is made out of warm polyester material and fill.$75 at Minecraft

If we had to choose

There's a ridiculous amount of officially-licensed merchandise out there for Minecraft, and chances are, there's something out there that will suit your needs or desires no matter what they are. If I had to choose one for myself, though, I would go with the Pig Riders Adult T-Shirt, as I think the design is really cool, yet not overly crazy as to draw unwanted attention to me while I'm out-and-about. Plus, you can get it at a fantastic price, which you often can't say about brand shirts.

People looking for something for the kids to play with should check out the Light-up Adventure Sword for its cool electronic effects that add plenty of play value, as well as the design and shape which is accurate to the swords you see in the full game. If you;re picking something up for someone who loves to read, then the 88-page adventure story within the Minecraft Graphic Novel will be perfect due to its neat take on the Minecraft art direction, as well as the fairly large size of the story overall.

Minecraft Notes A Huge Success In China With Over 1.36 Billion Downloads

NetEase Games has announced that in China, Minecraft is no joke and players correlate it to something very serious. Huge numbers have surfaced, pinpointing Minecraft’s success in China, leading to a transcultural success. Mods, player base, downloads, everything has been exposed and NetEase Games is glad to announce its recent success.

Minecraft has always been an intriguing video game, and since early release, it never lost the sense of content. It is definitely the title in which you can have proper fun, without even being pushed to, or bothered to do any forced actions.

In China’s gaming industry, Minecraft is arguably one of the most downloaded games, as thanks to the recent press release it can be easily confirmed. NetEase, the local Minecraft Publisher, has stated, mods created by 2100 developers have been downloaded 1.36 billion times. These numbers come only from the domestic players, achieving a new milestone of 200 million players.

As the press release reads:

According to Minecraft’s local publisher NetEase Games, 25,000 Minecraft mods created by over 2,100 developers have been downloaded 1.36 billion times in China with its domestic registered players passing a milestone of 200 million, making China one of the biggest blocks of the sandbox legend.

When navigating the world largest and fast-growing game market, many western games are facing cultural barriers. Minecraft’s transcultural success, however, could be explained by how it has become integrated into modern China and also its glorious past. Thanks to a dynamic and creative Minecraft community deeply rooted in the local culture, many projects are currently being built to represent the ancient Chinese architecture in the game.

The transcultural noun stands for a reason, as community and modders have managed to recreate some of the most iconic places in China, within Minecraft itself. Overall, many projects that are present in the ancient Chinese architecture have been built in the game, and it is about to continue within the same pace.

As stated by NetEase Games:

Minecraft China is being used to revive historic icons, such as the Forbidden City, and to provide the public with a more interactive way to cherish them on mobile devices or PCs. The National Architect & Cthuwork Studio spent over three years recreating the Imperial Palace within the Forbidden city which used over 100 million Minecraft blocks in its construction.

Such as the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City, see pic below:

Not to mention the recent loss of France, the Notre-Dame cathedral which left the whole world shook, being reflected with a precious line of blocks in Minecraft. 100 Minecraft blocks were needed for its complete creation. Take a look at the image below:

All of this surely confirms the Minecraft sensation in China, and its vast success with over 1.36 billion downloads. This definitely marks Minecraft’s transcultural success in China.

MINECRAFT 1.14.1 PRE-RELEASE 1: SNAPSHOT BRINGS TONS OF FIXES FOR VILLAGE & PILLAGE UPDATE

Mojang has released a new 1.14.1 snapshot that fixes bugs found in update 1.14. Find out everything new and changes in the 1.14.1 pre-release, here.​

It’s been two weeks since the release of Minecraft’s massive 1.14 Village & Pillage update, and while the update came with a ton of exciting new changes, it also brought a plethora of bugs and glitches to hammer out. To address these early release issues, Mojang has deployed its first pre-release of version 1.14.1. In this snapshot, the company addresses numerous reported gameplay and performance issues. Players testing the pre-release should see performance and stability improvements such as better enderman and villager AI as well as improvements to chunk rendering. Meanwhile, quirks like flame enchanted bows not igniting TNT or missing raid sound effects have also been fixed. The list of fixes is substantial so we’ve provided a complete rundown of all that’s new and changed in the 1.14.1 pre-release, below. Players who want to test the 1.14.1 pre-release, can install the snapshot by opening the Minecraft Launcher and enabling snapshots in the “Launch Options” tab. To prevent corruption, players are advised to backup their worlds or run the snapshot in a different folder than their main worlds. The devs are also encouraging players to report any bugs they encounter after installing the 1.14.1 pre-release on the official Minecraft bug tracker.RELATED STORIES

Minecraft 1.14.1 Pre-Release 1: Everything New and Changed

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Minecraft 1.14.1 pre-release one features a wide array of bug fixes for the latest Village & Pillage update.MOJANG

  • MC-44793 – Tamed wolf can't sit on slime blocks
  • MC-126946 – Execution order is reversed when calling a function in some cases
  • MC-128441 – /tp uses context dimension rather than destination entity's dimension
  • MC-128565 – Function tag ordering is inconsistent across reloads and does not respect datapack ordering
  • MC-131014 – Observers and block states not updated by tree growth
  • MC-136442 – Blocks of giant mushrooms don't send block updates after growing
  • MC-140317 – Ladder in village house doesn't reach the floor
  • MC-142817 – Mobs try to pathfind through corners
  • MC-143699 – Trader llamas won't despawn
  • MC-144904 – Enderman can teleport to the void
  • MC-145097 – Leather horse armor is higher in inventory slot
  • MC-145265 – Night is not skipped when all but one players on a server are sleeping, and the remaining player leaves the server
  • MC-145744 – Villager AI (POI detection) pegs CPU at 100%, causes lag in 19w13a
  • MC-145862 – Villagers try to sleep in occupied beds
  • MC-146674 – Missing Jigsaw Blocks for Beds in some Village Structures
  • MC-146811 – Enderman AI causing HIGH ms tick lag
  • MC-146935 – Crafting table uses outdated plank texture
  • MC-147013 – Villagers can get hit by their own firework
  • MC-147022 – Many village houses are inadequately lit
  • MC-147212 – Iron golems can spawn in spaces less than three blocks high and get stuck
  • MC-147479 – Villagers continue to shake their head after they found a workstation
  • MC-147578 – Beacon NBT “Levels” is missing
  • MC-147590 – Missing floor block in village/desert/houses/desert_medium_house_1
  • MC-147643 – Villagers don't sleep in beds
  • MC-147676 – The event.raid.horn sound effect cannot always be heard whilst in a village
  • MC-147819 – Custom villager with large trades has scroll bar that goes outside GUI screen
  • MC-147880 – Pillager Outposts don't generate in snowy biomes
  • MC-147890 – Hostile mobs are not spawning
  • MC-148165 – Bow with Flame Enchantment does not Activate TNT when Hit on the Top
  • MC-148179 – Ender dragon fly in circles after shooting projectile at her and never comes down to the portal
  • MC-148454 – Villager trade GUI shows incorrect price when a discount is applied on servers
  • MC-148476 – Books still have an NBT tag (RepairCost of 0) after removal of enchantments using Grindstone
  • MC-148529 – Name of enchanted book is lost after removing its enchantments in a grindstone
  • MC-148567 – taiga_animal_pen_1 water trough has water recessed 1 block beneath trapdoors
  • MC-148580 – Server lighting still broken in 1.14 pre-4
  • MC-148624 – The banner on the Pillager Outpost structure is incorrectly named
  • MC-148830 – Game crashed while loading chunks
  • MC-149040 – Iron ore texture has four miscoloured pixels
  • MC-149178 – Chunk rendering is extremely slow and random in 1.14
  • MC-149209 – Cats jitter when sitting on slime blocks
  • MC-149278 – Wolf AI can cause extremely severe lag spikes when in combat with a distant mob
  • MC-149420 – Hostile mobs not despawning at 128+ blocks
  • MC-149576 – Villagers won't sleep in their beds
  • MC-149835 – Villagers can find a job, but can't lose the job

What do you think of the 1.14.1 pre-release? Are there additional issues that need fixing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Will Minecraft Earth ever come to Windows 10 devices, tablets, or HoloLens?

Best answer: For now, no. When we asked Minecraft Earth creative director Jesse Merriam, he said definitively that Minecraft Earth is only coming to iOS and Android devices.

  • Minecraft base game: Minecraft ($20 at Microsoft)
  • Best affordable phone for Minecraft Earth: Pixel 3A ($400 at Amazon)

Why Minecraft Earth isn't coming to Windows 10 devices

Minecraft Earth is an upcoming augmented reality game from Microsoft, built in a similar vein to Pokemon Go. In Minecraft Earth, players will partake in augmented reality adventures, able to explore miniature Minecraft-style worlds full of blocks for crafting and building.

To participate in the augmented reality game, Minecraft Earth will utilize the camera on an iOS (10+) and Android (7+) device. Minecraft Earth is constructed from the ground up using Android's ARCore, and Apple's ARKit augmented reality frameworks, which Windows platforms currently do not support.

Minecraft Earth Creative Director Jesse Merriam told us that at present, Minecraft Earth is planned only for Android and iOS due to the AR framework dependencies.

Does this mean that Minecraft Earth may never appear on HoloLens or Windows 10 devices? It's hard to say, but considering Microsoft is pioneering in the augmented reality space with HoloLens, it's a little hard to believe that any future possible consumer-ready augmented reality product from Microsoft wouldn't support this game, considering how popular it's likely going to be. We'll have to wait and see.

‘MINECRAFT VOLUME ONE' WRITER SFÉ R. MONSTER AND ARTIST SARAH GRALEY TALK BRINGING THE GAMING PHENOMENON TO COMICS (EXCLUSIVE)

razes come and go in the world of video games but few franchises ever manage to reach the broad appeal and formidable staying power of Minecraft. As of May 2019, the game had sold more than 176 million copies worldwide, edging out Tetris as the best-selling game of all time. Now, as part of a multi-project publishing partnership, Mojang AB and Microsoft have teamed up with Dark Horse Comics to translate the vivid, crazy world of Minecraft to a series of graphic novels. 

Minecraft Volume One follows Tyler, a kid whose life is turned upside down when his family has to move away from his hometown. Thankfully, he's still got his besties by his virtual side—in the world of Minecraft. Accompanied by pals Evan, Tobi, Grace and Candace, Tyler embarks on the Ultimate Quest: to venture to the End and challenge the mythic ender dragon. 

Newsweek has obtained an exclusive preview of the comic, and spoke with writer Sfé R. Monster and artist Sarah Graley about bringing the expansive possibilities of the online game to the printed page.  

Quite a few fictional stories are set in the Minecraft universe, did you use any in particular to inspire either the graphic novel’s writing or art direction?

Sfé R. Monster: Sort of! Eight or so years ago, I used to watch a lot of Minecraft Let’s Plays on YouTube.  It was my first introduction to Minecraft, actually, and what eventually convinced me to start playing the game myself.  I was really into the elaborate collaborative building and adventures that these groups of friends would post online.  Some of them had their own Minecraftcharacters and personas and created these fun improv stories in the game as they played. I was definitely inspired by the memory of those videos when I started to think about how I wanted to adapt the game of Minecraft into a graphic novel, but I also wanted to pull in a lot of my own experiences playing the game with my friends, so it was a big patchwork of inspiration.

Sarah Graley: In terms of art direction, we wanted the Minecraft world to be pretty similar to the game itself, but we were keen on making the characters look more human and less blocky! I think this definitely helped me bring my own style to the wonderful world that is Minecraft! It feels like a good mix as Minecraft is all about real people having fun together inside this virtual world, and the combination of styles was a way to pay tribute to that.

Minecraft Vol 1 PG_04

‘Minecraft Volume One' is the first official graphic novel set in the world of the gaming phenomenon that boasts more than 91 million monthly players.DARK HORSE

What aspect of Minecraft did you intend to capture with the graphic novel? How did you get involved with this comic?

SRM: I got involved with the comic because I make comics! And for a while, I was known among my comic-making friends as “the one who’s really into Minecraft.” You truly never know where your interests are going to take you! When I was invited to be a part of the project and write the comic I knew for sure that I wanted to capture the adventure part of the game: exploring all the various biomes to take on big challenges, like fighting withers and ender dragons. Personally, I feel I’m a very simple Minecraft player, who’s content to make a little house and a little farm and just putter around, but I love how epic the game can get, and I wanted to capture that sense of how big and exciting the game can be.

SG: I’ve been making comics and playing video games since forever! I originally wanted to make video games when I was a lot younger, so anything that lets me combine my love of the two together is a real treat! When I was asked to be the artist on this book, I was really excited – it meant that I was able to play a whole bunch of Minecraft and be able to call it valid research! It was really enjoyable getting to figure out how to bring my art style to the world of Minecraft and bring it all together, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out! I’m super excited to everyone to get to read this incredible adventure!

Did you have a relationship with Minecraft before working on this project? What does Minecraft mean to the cast of your story?

SRM: I was thinking about this as I started working on the story, and it turns out I’ve been playing Minecraft for as long as I’ve been making comics (seven years!). I initially started playing Minecraft on a server run by several of my comic-making friends and colleagues, so Minecraftand comics have always been closely linked in my mind.  That idea of friendship, and Minecraftbeing something you do to spend time with people you really like and care about, was something that I wanted to bring the comic. The group of kids in the story love playing Minecraft, but for them, it’s something they do together, and it’s not nearly as fun when they’re not all there in-game together.

SG: I’ve been playing Minecraft with my partner and my sister over the years, and it’s always a really fun thing to dip back into! I’m mainly a creative player – I like to build cool bases in the sides of mountains! Most recently, I built a base with several floors, and just as I was placing the finishing touches, I could hear a whole bunch of clucking noises – It turned out that my partner Stef had placed dozens of Chickens in my base and they were definitely messing up the place! I had to make a hole in the wall, and they all escaped into the sea. It was very funny to watch! In the story, I think Minecraft is especially important because it’s helping to keep Tyler in touch with his friendship group when he moves away. It’s one of my favorite things about online gaming – it keeps you connected with your friends, no matter where in the world you are.

Minecraft Vol 1 PG_05

Tyler is joined in the world of ‘Minecraft' by his close friends Evan, Candace, Tobi, and Grace, had countless adventures together across the expanses of the Overworld.DARK HORSE

Tyler’s core friend group seems to be very close. Can you provide insight to the group history prior to graphic novel?

SRM: Tyler and Evan have definitely known each other the longest. They’re met-on-the-very-first-day-of-school friends.  Grace and Candace came along a few years after, and I think Tobi is the most recent addition to the group, but they’ve all known each other and been friends for years. They’re all in the same grade, but I feel like at this point in the story they’re spread across several different homerooms, so playing Minecraft together is just as important for Evan, Grace, Candace, and Tobi (who still live in the same city) as it is for Tyler (who has recently moved with his family across the country).

In the Minecraft world you two have created, every aspect of a person’s real world seems to get copied over to the game, including apparatus like glasses, wheelchairs, and very poofy heads of hair. Why did you choose a one-to-one copy over the zany avatars normally found in video games?

SRM: I think a one-to-one copy was important for this story, where I wanted the gang to still be recognizable when they enter the world of Minecraft. They’re playing the game as themselves, so they still needed to be recognizable as themselves, but they also get to be the Minecraft versions of themselves, so rather than putting on a completely different avatar, it’s more like they’re playing dress-up. It was really fun to write their in-game descriptions and see how Sarah drew them! That was maybe my favorite part of the comic-making process.

SG: I had a lot of fun getting to figure out what the characters would look like from Sfé’s descriptions and also getting to make a whole bunch of extra background characters too! It was really fun getting to fill this Minecraft world with a bunch of real people!

Minecraft Vol 1 PG_06

The story follows Tyler and his pals as they embark on the Ultimate Quest—to travel to the End and face off against the ender dragon.DARK HORSE

There’s a lot of casual diversity amongst the cast members. Why did you believe that was something important to include?

SRM: Growing up as a queer person and a trans person I never, ever got to see myself even in the background of the media I consumed. I have a lot of friends who grew up feeling the same way, and I believe we have a tendency in our media to see the same type of protagonist over and over again. It was really important to me (and to Mojang and Dark Horse!) to see a lot of different kinds of faces playing Minecraft. The game is played all over the world by so many different kinds of people; it wouldn’t make sense to only include one type of player. This way we get to see all sorts of players from all sorts of backgrounds and identities, and it really shows how diverse the people who play Minecraft are and how there’s definitely a place for them in the game!

SG: It’s really powerful to see yourself in the media that you read and watch and play – I absolutely adore the cast of characters that Sfé has written in this story, and it was a pleasure to get to draw them. I’m really excited for everyone to read this book, and I hope everyone sees a bit of themselves reflected somewhere.

Which countries will Minecraft Earth be available in?

Best answer: Minecraft Earth is set to launch worldwide, though will see a staged rollout starting in select cities.

Which countries will Minecraft Earth be available in?

Minecraft Earth is Microsoft's upcoming augmented reality (AR) game for iOS and Android, bringing its blocky creative sandbox to the real world. Capitalizing on the worldwide Pokemon Go phenomenon, Minecraft Earth revitalizes building and exploration in a truly mobile form.

Minecraft Earth is universal by nature, leveraging Open Street Maps to build a world around existing map data. It allows the game to scale globally without handcrafting it for every location on the planet. However, Microsoft is planning a slower rollout to ensure a smooth and optimized experience for all players.

Microsoft is yet to formally discuss its Minecraft Earth plans, only committed to an early access beta throughout summer ahead of a late 2019 launch. However, the firm indicates a staged rollout over time, likely indicating a variable release date between regions. Here's Microsoft's current stance on availability, via its Minecraft Earth FAQ.

We're committed to bringing Minecraft Earth to the entire Earth but will roll the game out gradually to ensure everyone gets the best play experience. Minecraft Earth will support all the same languages as regular vanilla Minecraft.

With Microsoft's well-established U.S. presence, expect Minecraft Earth to first launch stateside. Expansions to Europe and Asia are also likely, before branching worldwide into other regions. Minecraft Earth beta registration also requires a region and zip code, indicating location will influence beta invitations.

Where will Minecraft Earth release first?

Although official word on Minecraft Earth's debut is scarce, our sources indicate Microsoft is first targeting around five cities. This limited pool of players will test and gather feedback before the game expands into new locations. It's unclear which cities will host initial tests, although we hear at least one will be outside the U.S.

Venturing into speculation, don't overlook Microsoft's ties to the Seattle area, alongside the value of tech hotspots like San Francisco and New York. Beyond U.S. cities, London could be a possible candidate, as well as Minecraft's hometown of Stockholm. Expect more details on these cities in the coming months.

‘Minecraft Dungeons' Is A New Action-RPG Set In The ‘Minecraft' Universe

Early into Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference, Minecraft Dungeons was revealed. It's a cool little surprise from the makers of the original Minecraft, Mojang. A small team in Stockholm, Sweden has been working on what the developer describes as “a passion project.”

The game is an action-RPG similar to something like Diablo, but set in the Minecraft universe with all its blocky charm. You can play solo or online with friends.

The game is set to debut on PC, consoles and Xbox Game Pass in Spring of 2020. (Though the website says PC in 2019, the trailer description says 2020.)

Minecraft Heroes
Minecraft DungeonsCREDIT: MICROSOFT

From the official website:

“What exactly is Minecraft: Dungeons? It’s an all-new action-adventure game inspired by classic dungeon crawlers, where you’ll constantly discover new weapons and items that will help you defeat a ruthless swarm of new-and-nasty mobs. You’ll fight or flee through canyons, swamps and – of course – mines!

“You can brave the dungeons alone, or team up with friends. Up to four players can battle together through action-packed, treasure-stuffed, wildly varied levels, all in an epic quest to save the villagers and take down the evil Arch-Illager!”

How to check if your phone will work with Minecraft Earth

In Minecraft Earth, you'll be able to experience augmented reality adventures using your smartphone's camera on a compatible Android and iOS device. For Android, your phone needs to be powerful enough to run ARCore, complete with Android version 7 or above, for iPhones, you'll need iOS version 10 or higher. In this guide, we'll show you how to check that your phone is compatible with Minecraft Earth.

Products used in this guide

  • Most affordable modern iPhone: iPhone XR (From $749 at Apple)
  • Best value Android flagship: OnePlus 7 Pro (From $670 at OnePlus)
  • Most affordable AR Android phone: Pixel 3A ($400 from Amazon)

How to check your version of iOS on iPhone or iPad

iOS devices like iPhones and iPads differ slightly in their settings menus, but the general execution is the same. Ensure your iPad or iPhone is rocking all the latest updates, and you can then easily find whether or not it's compatible using this quick guide.

  1. Update your iPhone to the latest available OS version.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Select General.
  4. Select About.
  5. Check your Version is 10 or higher.

How to check your version of Android

The menus vary wildly across Android devices since it allows developers a large degree of freedom for customizing the software. Generally though, the Android version is almost always found in the “About” section. Here's how to find it.

  1. Update your Android phone to the latest available OS version.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Select About phone.
  4. Check your Android version is 7 or higher.
  5. Make sure your ARCore is up to date, by checking this link in the Google Play Store.

If your devices have the latest updates and don't meet requirements, it will be unable to play Minecraft Earth.

At 10, Minecraft hits 176 million sales and announces AR game for iOS and Android

2019 is the 10th anniversary of Minecraft, one of the biggest games in the world. As part of its ongoing celebration, publisher Microsoft revealed today that lifetime sales of Minecraft have surpassed 176 million copies across consoles, PC, and mobile. It also said that developer Mojang is working on a new game in the beloved franchise. No, it’s not Minecraft 2. But it has the potential to be bigger than that.

Minecraft Earth is a free-to-play augmented reality game for iOS and Android that transports the familiar block-building gameplay into the real world. You’ll gather resources, fight against mobs (Minecraft’s deadly monsters), and interact with other people’s creations. Mojang will launch a closed beta this summer, and you can sign up for it here.

In a blog post, Microsoft said Minecraft Earth is using the company’s Azure Spatial Anchors AR tracking technology and integrates with its backend platform PlayFab.

If the worldwide success of Niantic’s Pokémon Go is anything to go by, Minecraft Earth should have no trouble finding a dedicated audience — just think of the millions of children who grew up with the original game. Minecraft is also known for having absurdly creative players who build the most intricate sculptures, and giving them the tools to put their creations into AR is an exciting prospect.

It’ll be a busy summer for Mojang. In addition to running the Minecraft Earth beta, the developer will be preparing to host its annual Minecon livestream (which use to be a physical conference) on September 28.

That’s usually the time where Mojang reveals big new updates about Minecraft, and assuming Minecraft Earth isn’t out yet, perhaps we’ll hear more about the new mobile game as well.

Above: Hard to believe that the game came out in 2009.Image Credit: Mojang

A strong but complicated legacy

Before Fortnite took the crown, Minecraft was gaming’s biggest pop culture phenomenon, leading to the creation of spinoffs, a boatload of toys, and other miscellaneous merchandise. More than 91 million people still play the game every month. A lot of streaming and YouTube personalities built their careers off creating videos that chronicle their Minecraft adventures.

The game’s ubiquity is one big reason for its success. While Minecraft originally launched on PC, it’s now available on practically every modern platform, including virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. The Minecraft Marketplace, where players can sell their fancy builds, also provides fresh content on a consistent basis.

Most of this expansion came after Microsoft bought the game and Mojang from original creator Markus “Notch” Persson for $2.5 billion in 2014. As GamesBeat PC Gaming editor Jeff Grubb wrote in March, the reclusive developer has turned into a “bizarre internet creep” who regularly espouses conspiracy theories on social media.

But with the recent removal of Notch’s name from Minecraft’s splash screen (he’s still in the credits), Microsoft has been slowly trying to distance itself away from him. And that’s for the best, especially as the company prepares to launch another potentially lucrative version of the game.

Minecraft Marketplace April 2019’s top 10 downloads

The Minecraft Marketplace had another huge month thanks to its Spring Sale. Players zipped into the store for 7,409,421 downloads. That’s approximately double March’s 3,705,978 downloads.

For the Spring Sale, Microsoft invited fans to get up to 75% off the various items in the Marketplace. It ran from April 19 through April 21, and seems like another big success for building the Minecraft Marketplace brand.

Top 10 most downloaded

10. Dreamlife

 10. Dreamlife

1. City Living

 1. City Living

1. City Living by Noxcrew

Get the full lifestyle experience with luxury apartments, office buildings, and even vehicles you can drive. Pick your perfect home or take in the sights. Customize your world with brand new models, blocks, and textures. Comes with 30 free skins.

2. Pet Shop by PixelHeads

Welcome to Pet Shop! Choose between 17 lovely pets. Explore a town and earn coins by collecting poop or by catching stray animals. Play fetch with dogs, trim a poodle, or take a snake for a walk!

3. Dragons by InPVP

Take one of six dragons to the skies and become a legendary dragon rider! Surprise your enemies with custom attacks. Shoot fireballs and drop TNT. Explore three huge castles and the beautiful custom landscape.

4. Luxury Life by PixelHeads

Luxury Life is a world where you role-play life as a billionaire. Cruise the streets in a sports car or any of the 10 other vehicles, explore luxurious mansions and decorate with furniture!

5. Springtime by CubeCraft

Spring is here! Dress up as a cute Easter bunny or choose from a variety of pastel colored outfits – even onesies!

6. Dinosaur Island by PixelHeads

Overrun by prehistoric beasts after the scientists lost control of their genetic experiments, explore and discover the hidden mysteries of this intriguing island.

7. City Life by PixelHeads

Cruise through the big city in City Life! Chase down a bandit in your police car, save the day as a firefighter, or take your dog for a walk.

8. Steven Universe Mash-Up by Minecraft

Steven enters the Minecraft universe in this Diamond-worthy Mash-up! Contains Steven Universe themed skins, textures, original music from the show, and all your favorite locations, from Beach City to Homeworld.

9. City Mash-Up by Everbloom Studios

With over 1,000 hand-detailed rooms, there are stories, secrets, and mini-games around every corner. Build with the city’s full texture pack in your own worlds or take on any role you can imagine!

10. Dreamlife by Shapescape

Welcome to your Dreamlife! Get a tan at the beach, go shopping at the city mall with your friends, relax at the pool, or tear up the neighborhood in your own monster truck. Dress up fancy, sporty, or casual with our 12 included free skins.

Top 10 highest grossing

2. Pet Shop

 2. Pet Shop

1. City Living

 1. City Living

1. City Living by Noxcrew

Get the full lifestyle experience with luxury apartments, office buildings, and even vehicles you can drive. Pick your perfect home or take in the sights. Customize your world with brand new models, blocks, and textures. Comes with 30 free skins.

2. Pet Shop by PixelHeads

Welcome to Pet Shop! Choose between 17 lovely pets. Explore a town and earn coins by collecting poop or by catching stray animals. Play fetch with dogs, trim a poodle, or take a snake for a walk!

3. Dragons by InPVP

Take one of six dragons to the skies and become a legendary dragon rider! Surprise your enemies with custom attacks. Shoot fireballs and drop TNT. Explore three huge castles and the beautiful custom landscape.

4. Luxury Life by PixelHeads

Luxury Life is a world where you role-play life as a billionaire. Cruise the streets in a sports car or any of the 10 other vehicles, explore luxurious mansions, and decorate with furniture!

5. City Mash-Up by Everbloom Studios

With over 1,000 hand-detailed rooms, there are stories, secrets, and minigames around every corner. Build with the city’s full texture pack in your own worlds or take on any role you can imagine!

6. Steven Universe Mash-Up by Minecraft

Steven enters the Minecraft universe in this Diamond-worthy Mash-up! Contains Steven Universe themed skins, textures, original music from the show, and all your favorite locations, from Beach City to Homeworld.

7. Dinosaur Island by PixelHeads

Overrun by prehistoric beasts after the scientists lost control of their genetic experiments, explore and discover the hidden mysteries of this intriguing island.

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas by Minecraft

A nightmare? Before Christmas? Enjoy this themed pack by Minecraft.

9. City Life by PixelHeads

Cruise through the big city in City Life! Chase down a bandit in your police car, save the day as a firefighter or take your dog for a walk.

10. Advanced Farming by Gamemode One

Farm your heart out with new machines, vehicles, animals, pets, vendors, characters, and lands to explore. This peaceful and relaxing roleplay countryside experience also includes custom sounds and music!

TEN THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT MINECRAFT: THE LAST TEN YEARS

For the second video in our award-deserving 10 Things series, we're looking back at ten years of Minecraft! Get ready for some gasp-inducing revelations about the origins of our horses, unlikely ways to get milk, and the game we almost made instead of Minecraft!

Disney's ‘Aladdin' Tops Box Office With Huge $207 Million Worldwide Debut

Aladdin earned an estimated $86 million over the Fri-Sun portion of its projected $105 million debut weekend. That’s no record, but it’s higher than the over/under $90 million pre-release tracking. It’s also a better debut than last year’s Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. That Han Solo prequel earned $84 million Fri-Sun and $103 million over its Fri-Mon debut weekend. The problem was that reshoots and a director swap sent that film’s budget soaring to around $275 million. While $183 million for Aladdin isn’t cheap, it’s cheaper than $275 million and there’s little reason not to presume that Aladdin will perform a lot better overseas than the mostly ignored Star Wars Story.

Presuming Disney isn't under-estimating the Sunday/Monday numbers, it will have earned a 3.38x four-day weekend multiplier, just below Alice Through the Looking Glass (3.45x in 2016) and above almost every recent “opened on a Friday” Memorial Day weekend release save for Alice 2 and Men In Black 3 ($69 million from a $17.6 million Friday) back in 2012. The film received mixed reviews but strong audience polling results. Warts and all, the film delivers on its promises of a big-scale live-action redo of Aladdin and mostly works as a blustery and colorful live-action musical with a fine cast and strong production values. The script’s a mess, but it works as surface level entertainment no matter your feelings about its source material.

Yes, there is a lot of family-friendly entertainment (Secret Life of Pets 2Toy Story 4Men in Black International) and at least one potentially huge musical (Rocketman) on tap over the next few weeks. However, let's presume that the Mena Massoud/Naomi Scott/Will Smith/Marwan Kenzari/Nasim Perdrad musical romance plays like a normal Memorial Day biggie. For reference, the outliers in both directions are X-Men: The Last Stand ($234 million from a $122 million Fri-Mon debut in 2006) and Men In Black 3 ($179 million from a $69 million debut in 2012). An “average” 2.11x multiplier (Days of Future Past with a $233 million cume from a $110 million debut in 2014) gives Aladdin a $222 million cume.

An upper-level multiplier (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Alice Through the Looking Glass) gives it a 2.29x multiplier and an over/under $241 million domestic cume while a lower level multiplier of around 1.97x (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and X-Men: Apocalypse) still gives it a $207 million domestic finish. Yes, Memorial Day releases tend to be relatively front-loaded in terms of earning much of their money in the first four days (or five days, depending on when it opens) of domestic release. That’s why it’s a big deal for Walt Disney that the much-discussed Guy Ritchie flick over performed this weekend.

With a $121 million overseas debut, that gives the flick a $207 million global opening, not yet counting whatever it will earn in North America and overseas on Monday. That's a 41/59 domestic/overseas split, and that's with a “meh” $18.7 million debut weekend in China. Not every big movie can count on hitting pay dirt in China, but Aladdin is doing well enough here and in the rest of the world that it won't need a bail out from the biggest overseas market in the world, albeit on that usually only gives the studio 25% of a given ticket sale.

Disney may have another live-action biggie that isn’t a superhero movie, and it does somewhat break their curse of doomed Memorial Day weekend releases (Prince of PersiaTomorrowlandAlice Through the Looking Glass and Solo). While it may not end up earning that much more in North America than Solo: A Star Wars Story ($213.5 million), it’s probably going to do better overseas. Alice 2 earned 75% of its money overseas, Dumbo recently earned 67% of its (mediocre) $347 million global cume overseas. A 40/60 split (like Beauty and the Beast) from a $220 million domestic cume (same legs as Solo) gets it to $580 million.

That’s no Sultan’s ransom, but it’s 3.21x the $183 million production budget. That’s presuming it doesn’t really leg out and/or over perform overseas. Will Smith will help in that department, as he helped get Suicide Squad to $745 million without China in 2016, while both Men in Black 3 in 2012and Hancock in 2008 overcame bad pre-release buzz to earn $624 million global. Being stupidly optimistic, a $259 million domestic total and a 35/65 split (right between The Jungle Book’s 37% domestic portion of its $966 million global cume and Alice in Wonderland’s 33% domestic portion of its $1.025 billion worldwide gross) gets this one to $740 million worldwide.

Yes, Aladdin could crash and burn after opening weekend, or perhaps just not be that big of a deal overseas even with Will Smith as the Genie. But now that the film has opened and is playing to big crowds of mostly satisfied customers, the hard part is over. For what it’s worth, the film is yet more evidence that onscreen inclusivity either helps with big movies that folks were going to see anyway or is not remotely any kind of deterrent. I can’t say yet whether more folks showed up to Aladdin due to the ethnic makeup of its cast, but it sure as hell didn’t scare anyone away.

Microsoft revamps Xbox Game Bar to improve the Windows 10 gaming experience

Something to look forward to: The Xbox Game Bar Team at Microsoft have recently overhauled their creation to bring more gaming features to the PC. Built into Windows 10, the new Xbox Game Bar is a customizable gaming overlay that offers instant access to widgets including screen capture, audio controls, voice or text chat and the ability to find new teammates with the Looking for Group (LFG) feature.

Gaming overlays are quite useful for players who need a multitude of features and controls during gameplay such as capturing screenshots, broadcasting, chatting with friends or just keeping an eye on their PC's vital stats like GPU and RAM usage.

Discord, Steam, Origin and many other services, including Nvidia's GeForce Experience (exclusive to their own GPUs), already provide in-game overlays, so it is a bit of a crowded market. Microsoft's latest offering is the refreshed Xbox Game Bar that's just come out after the Windows May 2019 update. While the feature was already present in Windows 10, the newer version adds a lot more features to complement the gaming experience.

What the Game Bar might have going for it is that since it's built into the OS, it doesn't require specific software/hardware like other in-game overlays to function. Users can just press the “Windows Key + G,” or a shortcut they like, to launch it at any point in their game to access a host of features. Though the company did point out that a small number of games, such as those built using the Vulkan API, may need to be run in windowed mode for Xbox Game Bar to display.

“Xbox Game Bar works with nearly all PC games, giving you instant access to widgets for screen capture and sharing, controlling your music, finding new teammates with Looking for Group (LFG), and chatting with Xbox friends across Xbox console, mobile, and PC—all without leaving your game,” the company posted on Xbox Wire.

One major addition to the overlay includes a Spotify widget that can be used to easily control music and podcasts. Users can shuffle, favorite and play recommended playlists right from the overlay, once they have installed the standalone Spotify app and signed into it on their PC.

The Game Bar also allows for individual volume adjustment of various audio sources so you can better hear your opponents' footsteps while your friends on Steam continue to chat in the background.

The Xbox team would also like you to capture screenshots and turn them into memes. “Use the Captures widget to add overlay text to your screenshot and make a meme, which you can share with your friends via a message or with the world via Twitter.” With the internet's vast and strange appetite for memes, who knows: your next creation might end up trending everywhere.

The Game Bar widgets can be dragged around to a layout of your choosing. As part of the team's customization focus, you can now pin streams from your favorite players, drag them anywhere on the screen and continue playing your own game, reminiscent of a picture in picture mode.

The updated Xbox Game Bar experience is “just the beginning,” with the company looking forward to evolving the feature as it listens to player feedback.

‘Aladdin' should rub audiences the right way

Chalk it up to modest expectations — starting with early previews that rubbed people the wrong way — but “Aladdin” is a great deal of fun, with charming leads and elaborately mounted songs. It's hardly a whole new world, but in this suddenly well-populated land of live-action reboots, makes the most out of its familiar one.Much of the advance focus was on Will Smith and the blue-ness of it all, but his Genie manages to straddle a line between Robin Williams' irrepressible animated antics and the theatrical Broadway version. Moreover, the filmmakers have come up with a framing device that brings a bit more heart and resonance to the role, and indeed the movie in general.Beyond that, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, respectively, effectively carry the movie. That includes a notably beefed-up aspect to Jasmine's character, articulated through a powerful new anthem — from composer Alan Menken and “La La Land's” Benji Pasek and Justin Paul — that helps render her, as Disney princesses go, anything but a shrinking violet.Like Tim Burton and “Dumbo,” director Guy Ritchie (known for his jittery style in independent films, as well as “Sherlock Holmes”) might have seemed like an unorthodox choice to lead this caravan. Yet he infuses the movie with considerable energy, including the ebullient production numbers, which are staged with a bit of Bollywood flair.Lest anyone have forgotten, the plot involves a good-hearted thief who, enlisted by the Sultan's evil vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) to carry out his nefarious ambitions, winds up in possession of a magic lamp. (Kenzari brings an edge to the role, which provides the movie with some much-needed gravity.)Aladdin uses one of his wishes to become a prince in order to court Jasmine, who, much to her chagrin, must marry royalty. The deception, however, creates its own complications, as well as lessons about pushing back against traditions.Smith's singing voice isn't particularly well suited to the material, but he muddles through well enough, giving the Genie the requisite irreverence, as well as the longing to escape his itty bitty living space. “Saturday Night Live” alumna Nasim Pedrad is also a nice comic addition as Jasmine's protective handmaiden.Perhaps foremost, “Aladdin” has certain advantages over some of its animated-to-live-action brethren amid Disney's “everything old is new again” cash grab, inasmuch as it focuses on human characters, the helpful monkey and magic carpet notwithstanding. As a result, it's a more organic adaptation than “Dumbo,” although still probably what amounts to an appetizer before “The Lion King” roars its way into the summer.Granted, it's hard to find much originality in movies that essentially have their roots in the consumer-products division — based on another 27-year-old movie, as filtered through a long-running Broadway production. But if “Aladdin” doesn't turn that formula into unvarnished magic, it has brought this old world to life in a manner that, above all else, won't leave you feeling blue.“Aladdin” premieres May 24 in the US. It's rated PG.