A collaborative game plus COVID are a dangerous mix.
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The augmented reality game for mobile devices, Minecraft Earth, is set to shut down in June 2021. The game was a bit like Pokemon Go but instead of catching cute creatures, you would come together as a community to build structures in the real world out of virtual Minecraft blocks. You would obviously not see them in the real world but you could easily see them through your phone's screen.

Minecraft Earth was first announced in May 2019. It was later shown off at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference where some of the co-op gameplay elements were shown off on an empty stage. That's all well and good, but the game was meant to be played out in the real world.

It just so happens that a little thing called Covid was going on at the same time, which threw a massive wrench into the plans for the game. Today's announcement about the game's forthcoming closure highlights the challenges of keeping a game like this going in a period where so much is locked down.

Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021.
The final build of the game was released today for the game. Among the changes, it removes all real-money transactions and made a lot of in-game currency purchases cheaper.

Anybody who has made a real-money purchase in Minecraft Earth will be given a free copy of Minecraft Bedrock Edition. Plus, those that have remaining paid ruby balances will have that changed into Minecoins that can be used at the Minecraft Marketplace for skins, texture packs, and more.

  • Removing real-money transactions
  • Drastically reducing ruby costs
  • Including all completed, unreleased content currently in our pipeline
  • Reducing time requirements for crafting and smelting
  • Replacing unused crafting & smelting boosts with radius boosts of the same level
  • Granting a set of Character Creator items to players who sign in between January 5 and June 30