Minecraft Earth public early access will start going live this October, new features planned

Minecraft Earth is an upcoming game from Microsoft and Mojang, bringing the blocky create 'em up to augmented reality for Android and iOS devices. Microsoft has been testing the game in closed beta in a few countries around the world, but as revealed today during Minecon 2019, the game will begin a global public preview in October.

Up until now, Minecraft Earth has been pretty limited in terms of features. Only "tappable" blocks around the world map and augmented reality building have been available. With the rollout of the public preview, Microsoft will begin including more of the features Minecraft is known for, namely crafting and adventure experiences.

You will be able to find tools such as mining picks, axes, and so on via tappables on the world map. You'll also be able to craft them using the new crafting section that will open up in the preview. The "Adventures" experiences are the bread-and-butter of Minecraft Earth gameplay and will spawn randomly either on your current location or as you move through the world. These Adventures are mini Minecraft events, allowing players to enter an augmented reality environment, battling skeletons, mining down into the floor for diamonds, and so on. We got to experience an Adventure at E3 2019, and it was awesome.

Related: Minecraft Earth might make me stop hating mobile gaming

Although Microsoft wasn't able to commit to which countries would get Minecraft Earth's public preview first, you can expect that it'll initially hit Microsoft's core markets and the countries where the closed beta is already available. These include Sweden, Japan, UK, USA, and Mexico. Microsoft says it expects Earth to be available globally by the end of the year, except for China — probably due to the country's culture laws. Microsoft does seem to be planning on bringing Minecraft Earth to China in the future, but it will require separate development.

The addition of Adventures and Crafting will bring Minecraft Earth to version 1.0, but Microsoft isn't done there. In an interview, they teased a long roadmap of future content updates, with the first coming in the Spring of 2020.

You can sign up for Minecraft Earth early access right over here.

Jez Corden