Look out Pokémon Go: Microsoft unveils new Minecraft Earth augmented reality game

Image Microsoft

While Microsoft already has a massive presence in mobile gaming, indeed, with Minecraft itself, Redmond is exploring what comes next for the franchise, and we were lucky enough to be among the first to get a glimpse at the mysterious "Project Genoa".

The announcement was made today - on the game's 10-year anniversary - and Microsoft says that Minecraft Earth will go into beta this summer (June - August) with pre-registration available now on Minecraft Earth's website. Not only will you see Minecraft collectibles and creatures out in the real world - you'll be able to build structures in the app and view them in life-size scale.

Developer Mojang released Minecraft Classic earlier this month, bringing the sandbox creation game back to its original form as seen on May 17, 2009.

Collecting: Minecraft Earth features numerous mobs that Minecraft players know and love (and potentially hate), along with new ones. You'll be able to buy in-game items, but Microsoft ensures us there will be no loot boxes present. Players will be able to construct builds on their living room tables either alone or in collaboration with others, then go and place them full-size in the outside world when they're ready.

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This is one area where Minecraft has a significant edge over Pokemon Go and other similar games. You can walk around it and look at it from all angles through your phone display, and if you walk through a wall of the building, your camera will show you the interior. Pokemon GO was met with insane success when it launched a few years ago, and it's clear that Microsoft is looking to emulate that with Minecraft Earth.

Surviving: You can battle Minecraft mobs in real life! The idea is that you essentially become your phone in Minecraft Earth, and your camera is a lens into this virtual world. You'll be using the camera more, is what I'm saying. There's no word yet on an exact release date, but a limited beta will open this summer.

Minecraft is a household name, and its players have a "visceral connection" to the game, said Minecraft Executive Producer Jesse Merriam.

You won't have to wait too much longer to find out for yourself.

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