For the past decade, Minecraft has been one of the most successful video game properties on the planet, selling well over 200 million units. The sandbox game attracted international appraisal from loyal fans who cooperated and competed with each other in the infinite 3D-generated terrain.
Minecraft, along with its developer Mojang, were acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. The acquisition spawned a number of spin-off games such as Minecraft: Story Mode and Minecraft Dungeons. Another lesser-known spin-off game was released by Microsoft as a mobile extension of the acclaimed sandbox game called Minecraft Earth.
Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality mobile game that had the ambition to rival Pokemon Go. The game was intended to allow players to meet and play together across the world to build with virtual blocks of material. It was fully released in late 2019 and was downloaded millions of times within its first week of release.
However, the current global situation has rendered the game nearly unplayable because of the requirements to isolate, socially distance, and stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The Minecraft team recently issued a statement declaring that they have made the decision to end support for Minecraft Earth.
The final update for the game was released during the first week of January 2021, giving players a simpler way to build while staying at home with reduced time requirements for crafting and cheaper prices for materials. Players can no longer make any in-game purchases and all ruby balances will be converted to Minecoins that are usable in the Minecraft Marketplace. Minecraft Bedrock will be awarded for free to any players that have ever made a purchase in Minecraft Earth. The game will then be unavailable for download from mobile stores on June 30th, with player data being completely deleted the next day.
Had Minecraft Earth been released years before the start of the 2020 global pandemic, there is no doubt that the mobile game would have been a global success. Though this news may come as a bummer to the mobile gaming community, it doesn’t seem out of the question that Minecraft Earth will receive another roll-out in the future once life returns back to a level of normalcy.