Minecraft Earth Android beta launches in five cities

Minecraft Earth’s closed beta has launched on Android in Seattle, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, and Mexico City, its developer Mojang announced today. If you’re lucky enough to have a beta invite and live in one of the launch cities, then you can start playing the augmented reality mobile game right now. You’ll need an AR-compatible device running Android 7 or above to play.

Today’s launch means that Minecraft Earth’s Android release is proceeding a little more slowly than it is on iOS since the beta launched on Apple’s operating system last month. However, Android users will get access to the game’s “Rubies” in-game currency before it launches on iOS. In a blog post announcing the start of the Android beta, the game’s developer says that the currency can either be earned through playing the game or bought directly, and any Rubies purchased will be attached to a user’s Xbox Live account and will carry through to the full release.

Minecraft Earth@minecraftearth

The Android beta is finally here! We’re hard at work rolling out the update in five cities: Seattle, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, and Mexico City. Happy crafting everyone!


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First announced back in May Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality version of Mojang’s open-world crafting game. Mojang’s eventual aim with the game is to cover the entire planet in Minecraft blocks, allowing you to craft with them and then explore your structures with other players. Check out Mojang’s Minecraft Earth FAQ for more information, or sign up for access to the beta here.

Minecraft is getting an AI assistant from Facebook and MIT

Minecraft is getting an artificial intelligence assistant, with Facebook and MIT working on the project. The goal is to develop an AI system that can multitask well instead of being “superhuman” at just one activity, MIT Technology Review said Thursday in a blog post.

Minecraft has over 90 million monthly players and just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Also coming soon is Minecraft Earth, a Pokemon Go-style AR mobile game, which is now in beta on iOS and Android. Minecraft developer Mojang was bought by Microsoft for $2.5 billion in 2014.

Facebook Research and MIT researchers are now working on an AI assistant that can interact with players and then perform a bunch of tasks on request. The assistant can also learn from these interactions, and develop new skills. They chose to use the game Minecraft for the project because it has “infinite variety” but simple and predictable rules.

“The opportunities for an AI to learn are huge,” the blog post said. “Facebook is setting itself the task of designing the AI to self-improve … the researchers think the Minecraft environment is a perfect one to develop this kind of learning.”

MIT said it's a challenging process, because even a simple request like “build a tower 15 blocks tall” requires the AI assistant to understand what a tower is, how to build one, how to measure the height, and to know what 15 is.

An early version of the AI assistant is already available to download.

Minecraft Earth, the groundbreaking future of the biggest game in the world, stars in the new issue of Edge magazine

In the five years since Microsoft acquired Minecraft for an industry-shaking $2.5 billion, the company has given little away about its vision for the future of the biggest game on the planet. Under Microsoft's stewardship, Mojang has improved the cadence of game updates, and done its bit to break down industry walls through cross-platform play. But its future direction has remained vague. Minecraft Earth changes all that. It does for Mojang's game what Pokemon Go did for Game Freak's – bringing it to life, wherever you are in the world, through augmented reality.

Success – likely on a remarkable scale – seems inevitable; the appeal of being able to build anything, anywhere, then make it life-size with a tap of a smartphone screen, is irresistible. But the game’s creation has been nowhere near as straightforward. In Edge 337, arriving soon with subscribers and on sale Thursday, September 12, we go behind the scenes of Microsoft's bid to catapult an already phenomenal success to even greater heights.

“Earth is as much a Microsoft project as a Minecraft one”

Minecraft these days is about more than Mojang; there's also a dedicated internal studio at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Washington, and while Mojang has played a big role in the game’s development, it's the latter that’s done the heavy lifting. That's perhaps for the best: Earth is as much a Microsoft project as a Minecraft one, leaning heavily on the Azure cloud platform, and particularly its mixed-reality spatial anchors – a bespoke Microsoft technology that enables multiple users to see, and therefore work together on, the same AR Minecraft building project. It's also required expertise that not only Mojang lacks, but Microsoft also did until Minecraft Earth came along. How do you ensure a player’s safety when your game works anywhere in the world? This is not just the story of a Microsoft executive seeing Pokemon Go and their eyes turning to dollar signs. It's a complex, fascinating thing, and Edge has exclusive access behind the scenes of a project that marks the next evolution of one of the hottest videogame properties around.

Edge 337 goes on sale Thursday, September 12, available in all major UK newsagents and through digital stores worldwide. It looks like this:

Subscriber copies will begin arriving in the coming days, and feature this exclusive, stripped-back take on the newsstand design.

Here's a taste of what else awaits inside.

An Audience With… Helen Chiang

Helen Chiang is head of Minecraft, which is perhaps the coolest job title in the game industry. But what does that role involve? How do you effectively steer a course for something that operates on such an enormous scale? And how do you balance the very different needs of a passionate player community, and the suits who want to see a return on a colossal $2.5 billion investment? We ask all that, and plenty more besides, in a rare interview with the holder of one of the most important roles in games.

Rise Of The Robot

Speedruns are everything we love about videogames: lofty feats of player skill, powered by the passion of communities. But they are not perfect – or at least they weren’t, until TASbot came along. This heavily modified version of the NES buddy peripheral R.O.B. can be programmed to play games perfectly, and can even perform glitches to run unsigned, and unexpected, code during speedruns (if you haven’t seen Portal running at 5fps on a Nintendo 64, you haven’t lived). We tell the story of the bot's creation; of how initial scepticism gave way to acceptance, then to love; and how the tech behind it all might just change the way we play games.

The Making Of… Dead Cells

How did a little-known French developer, that had only ever made smartphone games, turn out a thrilling, award-winning action Roguelike on PC and console? Appropriately enough given the genre, Dead Cells was born from a project that was killed off, then brought back from the dead – twice.

Minecraft: Education Edition gets a Maori-inspired world for New Zealand students

Minecraft: Education Edition has found plenty of use in classrooms, the latest allowing students to explore New Zealand's traditional Māori culture in voxel form. 

Ngā Motu, which means The Islands, is a world made by game designer Whetu Paitai, of Coromandel-based Piki Studios, to teach children about Māori language and culture. It has kiwis and moa, and a traditional pā—a defensive settlement protected by palisades. There's a waka hourua double-hulled canoe in the harbor, and even the swords have been replaced by the short-handled clubs called patu.

“We're believers in learning being organic, being able to explore all the elements, because nothing in our lives exists in isolation. Our mission is for everyone to be able to play these games and see more than just what a waka is – they’ll be able to see how it fits into that whole world,” Paitai said.

Ngā Motu is being released to coincide with Māori Language Week in New Zealand. You can check it out for yourself at the official site.

Minecraft's New 10th-Anniversary Map Is Awesome And Hides A Few Secrets

Minecraft is celebrating its 10th anniversary since it was first released, back in 2009. To pay tribute to this milestone, Mojang teamed up with Blockworks to create a massive map covering the entire history of the popular game. And for those who dig deep, you might find a few secrets and Easter Eggs.

When I first spawned into the map I was greeted with a nice little entrance and a minecart ride. However, this ride is actually a wonderful ride through the history of Minecraft’s major updates. It feels like a dark ride from a place like Disneyland and features on-screen text to help tell you when an update was released and what it was called.

Once I finished that minecart ride down memory lane, I found myself surrounded by immense structures. This is the real meat of the map. It is huge. Each area is dedicated to different parts of Minecraft.

For example, you can find a large museum showcasing every block currently in the game and each one has a small piece of text you read. These provide background and history about the block, while also teaching players tricks and tips on how to use them.

Another section of the map contains every enemy and animal in the game but made larger. A few of these creatures are fairly new and I didn’t know what they were. Luckily, like the block museum, each creature and enemy has text that players can read to learn more.

There’s even a section of the map dedicated to the educational spin-off version of Minecraft. Like Epcot at Disneyworld, I basically ran through this and barely looked. But neat that it’s there.

Dotted around the entire map are huge structures, biome-domes, temples, paintings, statues and more. You could easily spend over a few hours in this map and not see or find everything.

The map also contains some puzzles and secrets. A player reported on the Minecraft subreddit that they had even found a book referencing the creepy meme character, Herobrine. Mojang teases in a blog post announcing the map that it contains multiple easter eggs. I haven’t found any, but other players are already digging into finding all the secrets this map contains.

If you are a huge fan of Minecraft you’ve probably already played this, but if you haven’t it’s worth checking out. Even if you only played a bit of the game a few years back, this map is so well made and chock full of information, I think most players will get a kick out of exploring it.

The map is available for free right now on all Bedrock versions of the game, which includes Xbox One, Switch, PC and mobile devices. It is also avaiable for the original Java version and Realms. Some players on Switch are reporting performance issues in some of the more complex areas of the map, so just a heads up.

Minecraft Players Are Celebrating 10 Years With Cakes, Artwork And More

Minecraft turns 10 this weekend and fans of the popular-blocky-game are celebrating this big milestone in various ways, like baking cakes in real life or sharing old stories and screenshots.

Last weekend, Minecraft developer Mojang released a new and free map to celebrate the big milestone. However, while that map was cool, it was also a bit early. This weekend (specifcally May 16th) is actually the official 10 year anniversary of the first release of Minecraft.

In game, players discovered that when baking a cake on the special day, they found a big white “10″ stuck on top of it. A small detail from Mojang honoring the big day.

Beyond this small cake topping, fans across Reddit and Twitter have been sharing tons of videos, photos, builds and more in honor of a decade of Minecraft.

One fan shared a handwritten letter they received from Jeb, a lead developer on the game, from nearly 10 years ago. When he sent his letter and received a response, he was 9 years old and in 5th grade.

Minecraft player and creator shared some new skins they made in honor of the celebrations. It shows the main default characters of Minecraft holding up cakes. The cake is actually the head and the shoulder is the top of the hands. A very clever design.

Another player showed off artwork they made celebrating the game’s 10-year anniversary.

Reddit user and Minecraft fan Muddy_Boy shared this amazing piece of art he created in-game. Each letter represents a major update the game received over the past 10 years. Reddit user Knight506 did something similar, but showed each up visually in a video.

A few players across Reddit and elsewhere shared images of some of their first builds or even their very first homes. Like Ryan-1- on the Minecraft subreddit, who shared a screenshot of their first dirt house.

This screenshot reminded me of my first dirt home.

I downloaded Minecraft and watched a short tutorial on how to play the game and jumped in. This was right near the release of the game and I scared of the night. The moment the sun started to slide down the sky, I panicked and dug out some dirt and made a small crappy home like this. After a few days of playing that first world, my small home was a castle. But in the middle of it all, was still my first home and chest.

JotaGHz shared a photo of their birthday cake, which is Minecraft themed as the player shares a birthday with the game.

Another player also shares a birthday with Minecraft and shared their cake on the Minecraft subreddit too.

If you want to see and read more memories of Minecraft from players all around the world you can check out the hashtag #MinecraftMemories on Twitter where players have been sharing stories and photos for the past week. The official Minecraft website rounded up some of their favorite tweets in a post.

What memories of Minecraft do you have? Do you remember the first time you built a home? The first time you joined a random server? The first skin you used? Share your memories and stories in the comments.

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.


After a relatively quiet first half of 2019, the fall release season is finally upon us, meaning there’s roughly one big game dropping just about every week until the end of the year!

Whether you’re interested in big RPGs like The Outer Worlds or GreedFall, or looking to squad up with some friends in games like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint or Borderlands 3, there’s undoubtedly something for everyone.

Check out our slideshow above, or scroll down to read more about all 22 of the biggest games releasing between now and the end of 2019.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Release Date: September 6 (PS4, Xbox One, Steam in January, 2020)

Okay, this one is a gimme since it just came out, but it’s too good not to mention. Monster Hunter World was the series’ coming out party in the West, quickly becoming Capcom’s best-selling game of all-time in its first two months. Most recently, MHW surpassed 12 million copies shipped mark, an astonishing number if you consider that’s more than any single Resident Evil, Mega Man, or Street Fighter game ever sold. The first major expansion, Iceborne, takes the series to Hoarfrost Reach, the largest region in Monster Hunter World. Besides adding new locations, tons of new monsters, and many more quality of life improvements, what’s important is that you can finally pet your Palico.

Are you ready to dive in? Here are some things you should do to prepare for the new adventure. And, be sure to check out our review of the expansion, which we gave a 9.0.

Gears 5

Release Date: September 10 (Xbox One, PC, also available as part of Xbox Game Pass with early access beginning September 6)

Kait Diaz is back and looking to uncover the truth about her family’s mysterious past. In addition to a robust campaign mode that is said to feature the largest level in Gears’ history (fifty times larger than anything before it!). The team at The Coalition have also added an all-new PvE mode called “Escape”, as well as the return of Horde mode, plus some novelty character packs featuring Sarah Conner from Terminator, a set of Halo: Reach skins, and even Dave Bautista later this month.

In the meantime, why not check out the story trailer for Gears 5? Also, read our campaign review for Gears 5, which we scored an 8.8.


Release Date: September 10 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

GreedFall is an upcoming Action-RPG that takes place in The Old World, a fictional area inspired by 17th century Europe, that is suffering from a deadly, incurable plague known as Malichor. As De Sardet, the main character, you discover the remote Island of Teer Fradee, an area that has not been affected by the disease yet. Your goal is simple – scour this new land for a cure while embarking on quests, developing your character’s skills, and fighting to survive against fantastical creatures.

While you prepare for your journey, here’s 13 minutes of spoiler-free gameplay from GreedFall.

Borderlands 3

Release Date: September 13 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Are you ready to venture back to Pandora, Vault Hunter? Borderlands 3 is the latest entry in the wildly popular cooperative looter shooter. Technically the fourth game in the core series, it introduces four new Vault Hunters: Moze the Gunner, Zane the Operative, Amara the Siren, and FL4K the Beasthunter.

You’ll now be able to travel to different planets while cruising the galaxy in your new ship, the Sanctuary III. There are a ton of quality of life improvements being added, including the ability to slide and vault over obstacles, a loot-pinging system similar to Apex Legends that includes contextual voice lines, loot-instancing that allows players to gain their own loot (instead of fighting over it with others), and more. Oh, and there are over 1 billion guns in the game. Happy hunting.


The beat ‘em up, or “brawler”, is a classic video game genre, and at PAX West I played two distinctly modern takes on the brawler: Streets of Rage 4 by Guard Crush Games, Lizardcube, and Dotemu, and Young Souls by 1P2P Studios. While the spirit of the brawler lives on in big, 3D action games like God of War, 2D versions of the beat ‘em up are constantly being refined and evolved by smaller, often independent studios.

The beat ‘em up genre got its start in the 1980s arcade scene, defined best by games like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage 2, Golden Axe, and various licensed-games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons. They focus primarily on using hand-to-hand combat to mow through a large number of enemies, who get progressively more difficult.During the heydays of arcades, these games were purposely designed to get players to spend more money.

Video games have come a long way since the days of the arcade. Modern innovations have delivered 3D action/brawlers like God of War and Bayonetta. But indie devs are taking these lessons of modern game design and merging it with the classic 2D brawler format.

“First we analyzed several beat ‘em ups (yes, even the obscure ones) and we tried to understand what are the good things, the frustrating things, and is that frustration necessary to make the game work etc;” Dotemu game designer Jordi Asensio explained to IGN.

Asensio says in order to evolve the beat ‘em up genre — while keeping true to its arcade roots — the Streets of Rage 4 developers needed a good foundation. “We really worked on the original feeling of 90’s brawlers. That single punch, it must feel good.” Once the hits were solid, the team added modern game elements, like regenerating health through hitting enemies with special moves without getting hit.

1P2P Studios is taking a slightly different approach. Its own RPG brawler, Young Souls, mixes the modern social elements of Persona with a deep fantasy world. Playing as a pair of siblings, players can visit shops and customize their characters with the latest fashion trends, that then become their armor in an underground fantasy world.

Jerome Fait, co-founder and developer at 1P2P told IGN how Young Souls borrowed a lot of inspiration from other genres, before integrating them into its 2D world.

“We took inspiration from modern 3D brawlers – more flexible and smoother gameplay – and mechanics from other close genres – stamina management, careful use of shield and zoning – and mixed them with the traditional codes of 2D beat ‘em ups.”

These careful refinements and hybridization efforts showcase how even 2D beat ‘em ups that designed to emulate the brawlers of the 90s can also be fresh and modern. New technologies also open up the possibilities for modern 2D games even further.

Cyrille Lagarigue, the main programmer at Guard Crush Games says that thanks to modern hardware, “making a 2D game, we can do basically what we want in terms of graphics, so we are trying to push the envelope.” Lagargigue says that new tech lets Streets of Rage 4 to “have backgrounds that never repeat, so we can tell an always evolving story with level design.”

Lagarigue also highlights the analogue stick as a major advancement over the d-pad controls of old, which, “allows for more fluid and precise movements.”

1P2P is also utilizing modern technology to push their 2D beat ‘em up RPG. “[There are] no more limitations on the number of characters on screen or their size. In our case, we use 3D backgrounds, which allows us to have interesting camera work with original angles, depth of field, etc. We’ve also been able to develop a unique artistic direction and animation style while setting up a complex customization system,” Fait says.

For both the Streets of Rage 4 developers and 1P2P, the beat ‘em up revival is a pleasant coincidence rather than a coordinated industry shift. “We often see this kind of movements in video game with the return of a particular genre,” Fait says. “It probably reflects a certain lack of a generation of fans that matured enough to develop new ones. This time it’s for the 2D beat ‘em ups and we’re happy with that!”

When asked why now’s the right time is to bring back the beat ‘em up, he laughs and says, “We do not know if it’s the right time, but it seems that many of us thought about it at the same time!”

“In recent years, there has been a small revival of the genre, but I think this is because it has been too long a forgotten formula,” Lizardcube creative director Ben Fiquet added. “And beat’em ups are always cool to play.”

Both the team behind Streets of Rage 4 and 1P2P Studios agree that the brawler lives on in 3D action games. But 2D efforts like Streets of Rage 4 and Young Souls, show that there is a space for more classic beat ‘em up experiences that still feel uniquely modern.

Someone Recreated A Bob Ross Painting In Minecraft

Bob Ross was famous for his show which helped teach basically anyone how to paint wonderful landscapes and vistas. But, what if you wanted to create a piece of art, but you didn’t have any paint or brushes? Well, one YouTuber decided to recreate a Bob Ross painting using Minecraft.

SmallishBeans is a popular Minecraft YouTuber and self-described terrible artist and painter. However, he still wanted to create some art and so he decided to create a Bob Ross painting using a medium he is more comfortable with: Minecraft.

After building a large frame, SmallishBeans logged in to a second account and placed that character facing the painting from a distance away, letting him see how his “painting” is coming together in real time.

To help create the landscape, SmallishBeans used some mods that allowed him to more quickly place large chunks of blocks. But most of the creation is made by placing blocks by hand, one at a time, to make the scene look more natural.

After spending a few hours working on the scene, the end result is surprisingly faithful to the original painting.

I wonder how Bob Ross would react to seeing people using his art as inspiration to create their own art in entirely new mediums, like video games.

He’d probably think it was nice. Real nice.