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 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.

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

minecraft, 1, 14, 1, pre, release, 1, bug, fixes, changes, update, patch, notes, village, pillage, java, pc, how, to, download, install

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.

Mojang launches ‘Minecraft Classic' for web browsers

Minecraft has changed quite a bit since its early days, and most of those changes have been for the better. Features like smooth lighting and seamless biome transitions have improved the game's visuals dramatically, and dozens of content updates have brought new blocks to build with, new enemies to fight, and new dungeons and cave systems to explore.

For better or worse, though, all of this new content has made Minecraft a considerably heavier game than it once was in terms of performance. Modern gaming PCs will obviously have no trouble running the game, but for those with weaker devices, it can be tough to maintain smooth framerates.

Fortunately, the Microsoft and Mojang teams are always looking to make the popular block-based title as accessible as possible – now, as long as you have a web browser, you'll be able to experience Minecraft; albeit in the form of a significantly-downgraded “Classic” version.

The game will play just like it did in 2009, meaning smooth lighting is out, several old bugs are back, and all of the features and content updates mentioned above are nonexistent. It's Minecraft as you remember it during your teenage (or younger) years.

It's purely a creative experience, so there are no tools to craft, no monsters to fight, and only 32 block types to build with. Regardless, it'll undoubtedly be a fun little diversion if you're having a particularly slow day at work, and you can invite up to 9 friends along with you to revel in the nostalgia.

If you want to try Minecraft Classic's browser port for yourself, you can do so on the official website.

Minecraft Earth could push mobile AR gaming to new heights

Forward-looking: Minecraft Earth could be exactly what the mobile gaming industry needs to further advance the idea of augmented reality gaming. Pokémon Go was a revolutionary step forward for AR gaming and although millions are still playing today, its impact somehow felt limited. Minecraft already has a massive user base, many of which will no doubt be excited to give the mobile AR variant a whirl.

Microsoft as part of its 10th anniversary celebration for Minecraft on Friday officially unveiledMinecraft Earth, a new augmented reality mobile game.

With Minecraft Earth, you’ll be able to create, explore, collect, collaborate and survive like never before. Collaboration is arguably the biggest draw of Minecraft Earth as you’re encouraged to share your creations with others in the real world.

Microsoft’s new game is not a direct translation of Minecraft but rather, an adaptation. It’s built on the familiar Bedrock engine so, as Minecraft Earth game director Torfi Olafsson explained to The Verge, “if you like building Redstone machines, or you’re used to how the water flows, or how sand falls down, it all works.”

Microsoft purchased Minecraft creator Mojang in late 2014 for a staggering $2.5 billion. The acquisition seemed puzzling at the time but Microsoft has made the most of its investment in the years since.

Minecraft Earth launches in beta on Android and iOS this summer.

Why Minecraft is worth returning to in 2019

Minecraft is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. It revolutionized video games when its first version released in 2009, encouraging developers everywhere to rethink how they approached their own well-established franchises. People who didn’t normally play games were persuaded to try out the title after learning about its educational benefits. Of course, many picked up Minecraft simply to spend more time with friends. Here are a few reasons why Mojang’s masterpiece continues to be worthwhile for fans both new and old.

Minecraft in 2019 | Great updates

Minecraft

While updates from 2014 to 2017 weren’t met with positive reception from the game’s community, last year’s “Update Aquatic” (1.13) and last month’s “Village and Pillage” (1.14) introduced a hefty amount of new content for fans to enjoy. The first transformed Minecraft‘s previously lifeless oceans into vastly different environments.

Frozen, cold, normal, lukewarm, and warm waters could be explored alongside regular and deep oceans. Each has its own distinct fauna and flora to discover alongside elaborate shipwrecks and dilapidated ruins. It’s fascinating to see kelp and sea grass gently sway in the trenches as a school of tropical fish swim by, especially if one has grown used to the unsophisticated oceans of the past.

“Update Aquatic” didn’t stop there. A new type of creature called the phantom now spawns in the overworld if players neglect to sleep for three days. Phantoms will increase their numbers the more that fans put off sleep, swooping down at them from the sky above until they decide to get some much-needed rest. Chest restrictions have also been removed, allowing players to place regular chests side by side without having to use trapped chests.

April’s “Village and Pillage” update was just as impressive as “Update Aquatic,” if not more. It introduced a new type of ill-willing villager called the pillager, the likes of which is armed with a crossbow and can pursue players from 100 blocks away. A new beast called the ravager helps pillagers destroy everything in their wake, from homes and crops to innocent NPCs. Speaking of creatures, foxes, llamas, and pandas now roam around the world, scurrying across forests or climbing up bamboo.

Villages now vary depending on their biome, meaning desert structures have different infrastructure than tundra structures. The fast and fluid crossbow can be commandeered from a pillager so that fans can take down targets from afar. Crafting has also been overhauled, allowing players better access to frequently used items by requiring less rare materials. A bunch of useful new objects can be built too, including blast furnaces, smokers, cartography tables, and more. That’s not to mention that combat will be improved at a later date, after Mojang receives feedback. It all goes to show that the studio is listening and still changing the game even all these years later.

 Minecraft in 2019 | Millions still play it

Minecraft

One may be quick to assume Fortnite is the most watched game on YouTube, considering how frequently it appears on the platform’s trending section. According to YouTube’s director of gaming content and partnerships, however, that wasn’t the case last year, even with the battle royale genre’s huge surge in popularity. Rather, Minecraft remained the site’s most discussed title globally.

This makes sense considering how Microsoft had announced the game had 91 million monthly players this past March. For comparison, Epic Games stated that Fortnite garnered 78 million monthly players last September. The fact that Minecraft hit 74 million users in late 2017 indicates that the game is growing steadily despite its competition. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the game manages to hit over 100 million monthly players by the end of 2019, especially if Mojang promises new updates similar to its last two. It crossed 176 million copies sold this past weekend, so it may have reached that threshold already.

Minecraft in 2019 | It’s still unlike anything else on the market

Minecraft

Few games out there successfully emulate Minecraft‘s addictive and immersive qualities. Fortnite has building mechanics, but is much more focused on competitive play. Indie games like Eco allow players to build sustainable civilizations with one another, but lack the same emphasis on crafting whatever it is one desires. Major franchises like Fallout or Dragon Quest have either designed ancillary modes or spin-off titles clearly inspired by Minecraft, but each has failed to win over a huge portion of the sandbox community.

Many of today’s best AAA titles boast vast open worlds to explore, but few allow users to completely alter the terrain. These games merely make players the guests in their worlds. Minecraft, on the other hand, makes players feel like they’re a world’s overseer. Though this sensation is endemic to the sandbox genre, there aren’t many titles in this category that allow as much freedom. It’s easy to go back to Minecraft just to discover what lies inside a dark deep sea trench or what would happen if one ignited heaps of TNT around the base of a mountain. The game’s worlds beg players to keep digging until they find whatever they’re looking for.

If the above reasons weren’t compelling enough, a free-to-play AR mobile spin-off called MINECRAFT EARTH is set to launch its beta this summer. It promises to allow players the ability to recreate some of their greatest structures in the real world, wherever they may be. Whether this secures Mojang’s world domination remains to be seen, though it’s likely that the title will motivate people to log onto servers they haven’t visited in a while. There’s always reason to reintroduce yourself to an old video game, no matter how long it’s been since you last enjoyed it. Lapsed players may find that today’s Minecraft feels like a whole new adventure worth taking.

Microsoft Brings Augmented Reality to “Minecraft”

For many adults, it is hard to understand why kids love to play Minecraft. Instead of pushing CGI boundaries, the game has a retro look — and gameplay that appears to make very little sense. 

That did not stop Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) from spending $2.5 billion to buy Mojang, the developer of the popular game. Since that purchase just over a year ago, not much has changed for Minecraft. The game remains popular but it's no longer a white-hot title, having lost some of its mojo to Fortnite.

Still, Minecraft remains a huge brand — especially with younger kids — and Microsoft wants to expand its reach. The company recently showed off Minecraft Earth, an augmented reality (AR) game, to select reporters at its Build developers conference.

A screen shot of Minecraft Earth.

MINECRAFT EARTH IS AN AUGMENTED REALITY GAME. IMAGE SOURCE: MICROSOFT.

What's augmented reality?

AR is reality with a twist. Technology superimposes computer-generated images over what you see in the real world. The best example — and the one Minecraft Earth won't be able to avoid comparisons to — is Pokemon Go.

That game, which briefly became a phenomenon, layers Pokemon characters into real settings, and players can “catch” those computer-generated characters. As you play, the character Pikachu might pop up in the cafe where you're having coffee or a Charmander might be running amok at your grocery store.

It's a clever, engaging game (some would argue too engaging, as some people got hurt by engaging with the game and not paying attention to the real world) that showed people the possibilities of AR. Microsoft wants to build on that but seemed a little dismissive of the competition, in comments reported by Geekwire.

“It's not just a geocaching game with, like, 2% of it in augmented reality,” said Minecraft Game Director Torfi Olafsson. “We decided to go headfirst and build the game from the ground up as an experience that you play both in your immediate environment — when you're home — and out in the world, like in parks, in cities.”

Minecraft Earth aims to deliver a more social experience than Pokemon Go. To complete some “quests,” players must be in the same room in real life. The game, it's important to note, isn't a new version of Minecraft. It's the core game in a new setting, which should make the learning curve minimal for new players.

“This is a social experience from the ground up,” Olafsson said. The game will roll out in tests this summer.

What does this mean for Microsoft?

This takes an already popular game and brings it to a new platform. That gives it the potential to be a hit, and it's a sort of backdoor way for Microsoft to get more people to experience AR, an area where the company has invested heavily.

We're still in the early days of AR — the fun, experimental phase. If games like this catch on, however, it's easy to see business and education uses for the technology — beyond learning the names of various Pokemon.

So far, AR and virtual reality have mostly been novelties. A game can be the sort of “killer app” that takes a trend with potential and makes it mainstream. Minecraft Earth could be the product that helps do that. Or it could just be another way to keep people hooked on Minecraft.