The developers behind Minecraft earth have announced that the augmented reality mobile game is being shut down in June, due largely to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft-owned Mojang Studios made the announcement in a post on the official Minecraft.net site, which replaced the main Minecraft earth sub-site on Tuesday morning.
“Minecraft earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play – two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation, ” the announcement read. “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. ”
Minecraft Earth will be closing down in June 2021. Please read our full message below for details. We appreciate all the support from the community!
– Minecraft Earth (@minecraftearth) January 5, 2021
Built by Mojang on the same Bedrock game engine that powers other editions of Minecraft, Minecraft earth was a sandbox game designed around collaboratively building structures in augmented reality. In a similar fashion to other popular AR games like Pokemon GO, Minecraft earth was free to play, but featured in-app microtransactions where in-game currency could be acquired for real-world money.
Tea Minecraft earth team released a final update for the game on Tuesday, which dramatically overhauls the game in anticipation of its “sunset” phase. In a weird way, the next six months are likely to be the best time for a newcomer to get into Minecraft Earth, as many of the artificial methods of prolonging gameplay have been removed or greatly diminished, and it’s now impossible to spend money on it.
Among other things, Minecraft earth now offers a set of Character Creator items to players who sign in between now and June 30; removes all real-money transactions from the in-app store; and releases all of the content that had already been completed for the app. It now takes less time to craft and smelt, and all unused crafting / smelting boosts have been replaced with radius boosts of the same level.
According to the official FAQ for its sunset phase, players of Minecraft earth who have spent any actual money on the game will be given a free copy of Minecraft‘s Bedrock edition for their mobile device. Further, any player with a current paid balance of rubies, one of the two primary in-game currencies in Minecraft Earth, will receive an equivalent amount of Minecoins for use in the Minecraft Marketplace, which can be exchanged for new maps, skins, and mini games. Notably, any items purchased with rubies in Minecraft earth remain attached to a player’s Minecraft account; character creator items can be used in Minecraft’s Bedrock edition.
On June 30, Mojang will discontinue support and services for Minecraft earth, preventing all players who still have the game installed from playing it. Anyone who tries will be greeted with a “sunset information screen” instead of connecting to the servers.
Minecraft earth initially debuted in early access in October 2019 and was downloaded well over 1 million times in the first week of its release. It was nominated for Best VR / AR Game at the E3 2019 Game Critics Awards, losing to Phantom: Covert Ops, and was listed in Time magazine as one of its Best 100 Inventions of 2019.