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Last week, the team at Minecraft introduced a new AR-based game called ‘Minecraft Earth’, which is free for Android and iOS users. The most striking feature about Minecraft Earth is that it builds on the real world with augmented reality, I am sure it will remind you of the game Pokémon Go.

Minecraft has around 91 million active players, and now Microsoft is looking forward to taking the Pokémon Go concept on the next level by letting Minecraft players create and share whatever they’ve made in the game with friends in the real world.

Users can now build something in Minecraft on their phones and then drop it into their local park for all their friends to see it together at the same location. This game aims to transform single user AR gaming to multi-user gaming while letting users access the virtual world that’s shared by everyone.

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Minecraft Earth will be available in beta on iOS and Android, this summer. This game brings modes like creative that has unlimited blocks and items; or survival where you lose all your items when you die.

Torfi Olafsson, game director of Minecraft Earth, explains, “This is an adaptation, this is not a direct translation of Minecraft. While it’s an adaptation, it’s built on the existing Bedrock engine so it will be very familiar to existing Minecraft players. If you like building Redstone machines, or you’re used to how the water flows, or how sand falls down, it all works.

Olafsson further added, “All of the mobs of animals and creatures in Minecraft are available, too, including a new pig that really loves mud. We have tried to stay very true to the kind of core design pillars of Minecraft, and we’ve worked with the design team in Stockholm to make sure that the spirit of the game is carried through.”

Players have to venture out into the real world to collect things just like how it works in Pokemon Go! Minecraft Earth has something similar to pokéstops called “tapables”, which are randomly placed in the world around the player.

They are designed to give players rewards that allow them to build things, and players need to collect as many of these as possible in order to get resources and items to build vast structures in the building mode.

The maps in this game are based on OpenStreetMap that has allowed Microsoft to place Minecraft adventures into the world. On the Minecraft Earth map, these adventures spawn dynamically and are also designed for multiple people to get involved in.

Players can play together while sitting side by side to experience similar adventures at the exact same time and spot. They can also fight monsters, break down structures for resources together, and even stand in front of a friend to block them from physically killing a virtual sheep. Players can even see the tools that fellow players have in their hands on your phone’s screen, alongside their username.

Microsoft is also using its Azure Spatial Anchors technology in Minecraft Earth which uses machine vision algorithms so that real-world objects can be used as anchors for digital content.

Niantic, a Pokémon Go developer had to recently settle a lawsuit with angry homeowners who had pokéstops placed near their houses. With what happened with Pokemon Go in the past could be a threat for games like Minecraft Earth too. As there are many challenges in bringing augmented reality within private spaces.

Saxs Persson, creative director of Minecraft said, “There are lots of very real challenges around user-generated content. It’s a complicated problem at the scale we’re talking about, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tackle it.”

To know more about Minecraft Earth, check out Minecraft’s page.

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