Minecraft Earth, an augmented reality mobile game, will be shut down after less than 2 years of operation and a sharp drop-off of players.
After less than two years of operation, Minecraft Earth is being shutdown by developer Mojang Studios. The mobile augmented reality game was released in early access in October 2019 before a full release in December of the same year. The game was an ambitious undertaking by Mojang to expand the platforms that the Minecraft property was playable on. It was developed following the massive success of the Pokémon GO augmented reality mobile game that came before it.
Minecraft is a wildly popular game developed by Mojang studios. Following its initial release in 2011, Minecraft has grown to be the bestselling video game of all time. Over 200 million copies have sold and as of 2020, there are roughly 126 million monthly users that still enjoy it. The procedurally generated 3D world lets players build just about anything they can imagine and craft items, fight off monsters, or even become a farmer. The game has been ported and released across almost every platform imaginable, including mobile platforms and just about every video game console released since the Xbox 360.
Mojang Studios announced that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that Minecraft Earth will be receiving it’s final update and before being shut down in June 2021. The studio specifically points out that the game was designed with exploration and collaborative play in mind, two things that are very difficult to achieve in this day and age. Mojang has decided to allocate their resources to other projects they currently have in the works. In today’s update to the doomed game, they removed microtransactions altogether and made the in-game cost of many items much cheaper in an effort to make the game as accessible and fun as possible for fans who are still playing.
The game itself saw strong critical reception at its launch alongside a sizable player base, with 1.2 million downloads in the US alone. However, it was praised as an ambitious, worldwide undertaking by Mojang that created a fun but time consuming game model that most players found difficult to stick with. As of today, the game struggles to hit just under 20,000 monthly users worldwide. Due to the sharp drop off of players and the reality of the ongoing pandemic, it makes sense that Mojang would want to reassess and focus on projects that are more accessible to its fanbase.
Even though Minecraft Earth will be shutdown this year, the original version of the game is still going strong with original user content and mods constantly being added on top of continuous support from the development team themselves. Players have also seen the release of Minecraft: Story Mode, a point-and-click adventure game developed by Telltale Games, as well as Minecraft Dungeons, a procedurally generated dungeon crawler developed by Mojang itself, that have their own collection of content that is sure to keep many fans busy for years to come.
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Minecraft Earth is currently available for iOS and Android.
Source: Mojang Studios
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