Minecraft Earth Shutting Down, Citing Coronavirus Pandemic
The AR game centered around seeing the world was rendered "near impossible" during the global pandemic, so Mojang is putting its resources elsewhere.
The AR game Minecraft Earth will be shutting down this summer, Mojang has announced. In a statement, the studio explained that the coronavirus pandemic had hampered key components of the game, forcing it to move its resources to other projects.
"Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play--two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation," Mojang said on the Minecraft blog. "As a result, we have made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021."
A final update to the game, releasing today, will make some changes to facilitate playing indoors, while also removing monetization hooks. The update will remove all real-money transactions, grant some free character creator items, drastically reduce ruby costs, and reduce the time and resources needed for crafting items.
On June 30, the studio will shut down all server support, so you'll no longer be able to download or play Minecraft Earth. Then on July 1, the company will delete any Minecraft Earth player data. If you have any outstanding paid ruby balances, those will be converted to Minecoins, which you can use in the Minecraft Marketplace to buy goodies in the main Minecraft title. Anyone who has made a purchase in Minecraft Earth will get a free copy of the bedrock version of Minecraft as well.
Some other popular AR games, like Niantic's Pokemon Go, have made similar changes to encourage players to stay indoors during the global pandemic, while continuing development on new content and live services.
"We want to take a moment to thank all of the players and creators that are bringing new adventures, mobs, and free in-game items for the community to enjoy while we finalize our timeline for sunsetting the game," the blog concluded. "Your feedback and creations brought this game to an entirely different level, from the regular build challenges you absolutely smashed to the incredible builds you shared on social media. We’re eternally grateful for the amazing talent in the Minecraft community. 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."