Microsoft will begin releasing the highly anticipated augmented reality mobile game Minecraft Earth in October, following several months of beta testing.
Like the smash hit Pokémon Go, Minecraft Earth layers its universe over the real world, and that takes a lot of planning and computing power. The company is planning a phased release to make sure the game remains reliable as new users jump on board.
The “Early Access” rollout begins next month in a “few smaller markets,” according to Microsoft. The game will roll out to new countries every few days and weeks, with a goal of global availability by the holiday season. Starting today, users can sign up for a notification when the game goes live in their country.
When it debuts, Minecraft Earth will still be a work in progress. The Early Access version is the minimum feature set for a strong experience, but more content and features will be added in future updates.
The game takes Minecraft off the computer screen and brings the game into the real world — through the lens of a smartphone. Players collect items, go on quests and use their inventories to put together impressive structures that can be captured and shared. There’s important elements of cooperation in defeating bad guys in missions and collaborating on tabletop Buildplate structures that can be ballooned up to life-size scale.
Microsoft bought Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014.