Microsoft has just released a teaser of what seems to be augmented reality features for the Minecraft game running on a mobile device. It’s a Pokémon-Go-style adaptation of the popular game which appears to be a mobile version of Minecraft.
The software company released the teaser a video at the end of the opening keynote during its Build 2019 developer conference which showcased an augmented reality adaptation of Minecraft for mobile devices. The teaser ended with the message “Tune in May 17” and then directed viewers to visit the Minecraft website Minecraft.net triggering speculations that an AR version of the popular game is just about to hit these streets.
In the teaser video, the Minecraft creative director Saxs Persson is seen leaving his phone on top of a bench outside the Washington State Convention Center where the Build 2019 Conference is being held. The phone is then picked up by a passerby who is able to use the phone to see a 3D hologram that looks like Minecraft running on augmented reality, suggesting Microsoft might just be on the verge of releasing an AR version of the game on mobile. See the video above:
The May 17 date shown on the teaser video is quite significant as it is also the 10th anniversary of the release of the cult virtual world-building game. The video was shown very close to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote speech.
With few details leaked so far, it is not yet clear what this Minecraft game will look like. Will it be a reproduction of Pokemon-style gameplay or will Microsoft take a new route? However, given the success and popularity of the original Minecraft, it might be a smash augmented reality hit game. Something akin to the popular Pokémon Go that took the world by storm a few years ago. Since the breakaway success of Pokémon Go in 2016, there haven’t been many augmented reality apps and games that have clearly demonstrated the potential of AR in such a spectacular manner. Since its launch, the Pokémon Game has been downloaded more than 500 million times.
Mobile AR games have been increasing in popularity since the Pokémon Go debut. The games or apps overlay digital elements onto the user’s real world view via the smartphone cameras and create a new Mixed Reality phenomenon that many users find particularly fascinating, especially if rendered via a great app.
For now, Microsoft remains tight-lipped about its plans for Minecraft AR. This is not the first time that Microsoft is showing Minecraft running on the HoloLens headset. However, the previous instance was only a tech demo rather than a teaser of a potential major game release. This time, it seems Microsoft is up to something much more significant, given that it has also tied its big reveal to the 10th anniversary of Minecraft.