Microsoft will be shutting down its augmented-reality version of Minecraft, known as Minecraft Earth, beginning in June, 2021, the company said Tuesday. Microsoft blamed the pandemic as a cause, as well as the lack of freedom of movement that the game required.

At its core, Minecraft Earth was a game based upon exploration and discovery. During the early days of lockdown, my kids and I would wander around the neighborhood, looking for animals, ores, and dungeons to explore. But Microsoft said that the “current global situation” prevented the free movement and collaborative play that allowed Minecraft Earth to survive.

As a result, Minecraft Earth will be turned off in June.  “On June 30, we will discontinue all content and service support for the game,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “This means that we will stop all development, and after that date, you will be unable to download or play Minecraft Earth anymore. On July 1, we will delete any Minecraft Earth player data unrelated to Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements.”

Before then, however, Microsoft will release its final update, beginning today. The final update will release all of the content that Microsoft had planned for the game and had completed, and will remove real-world money transactions entirely. If you have made a purchase in Minecraft Earth, however, you’ll be gifted with a free version of the Bedrock version of Minecraft (which you probably own already). All players with paid “ruby balances” will be granted Minecoins, which you can use on the Minecraft Marketplace to purchase skin and texture packs, maps, and even minigames.

The final update also includes:

  • Drastically reduced ruby costs

  • Reduced time requirements for crafting and smelting

  • Replacement of unused crafting & smelting boosts with radius boosts of the same level

  • A set of Character Creator items granted to players who sign in between January 5 and June 30 

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“We’re eternally grateful for the amazing talent in the Minecraft community,” Microsoft wrote. “This was not an easy decision, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure you get the most out of Minecraft Earth before it sunsets.”

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