A new Minecraft game is in the works, it appears, and it might not be what you expect. The company today posted a teaser video for what looks like a Minecraft augmented reality game.
The brief teaser video shows some kind of Minecraft AR game similar to Pokemon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite with its blending of real and virtual world elements. Whatever it is, it looks like it’ll be announced on the Minecraft website on May 17. Check out the teaser below, and yes, the man (who looks strikingly like Xbox pioneer J. Allard) does not appear to give the woman back her phone. We don’t know why.
At E3 2015, Microsoft showcased a stunning Minecraft experience for the company’s AR HoloLens headset. But given that the new teaser video doesn’t show anyone wearing an AR headset, it looks like the Minecraft AR game could be more akin to the aforementioned Niantic games in its headset-free blending of the real and digital worlds.
According to noted Microsoft insider Brad Sams, who has accurately reported on unannounced Microsoft stories before, the Minecraft AR game is code-named “Genoa.”
That Minecraft AR game is code-named Genoa
— Brad Sams (@bdsams) May 6, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told The New York Times in 2015 that one of the reasons Microsoft spent $2.5 billion to acquire Minecraft and developer Mojang was due to the potential benefits of marrying Minecraft and augmented reality. “Let’s have a game that, in fact, will fundamentally help us change new categories,” Nadella said. “HoloLens was very much in the works [when Microsoft announced the deal in 2015], and we knew it.”
The May 17 reveal date for the new Minecraft AR game is not random. It presumably aligns with the Minecraft 10-year anniversary celebration scheduled for the same day. Minecraft’s creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, is being excluded from the event over his “comments and opinions.”
The official Minecraft Twitter account cheekily reacted to the Minecraft AR news today with the thinking face emoji.
In addition to the rumored new Minecraft AR game, Microsoft is working on a Minecraft dungeon-crawler called Minecraft Dungeons. The title, which doesn’t have a release date, appears to take a more linear approach rather than the open-ended sandbox nature of the mainline game.
Minecraft remains one of the most popular games on Earth. By Microsoft’s latest count, it had 91 million monthly players, which is many millions more than Fortnite has.