2019 is the 10th anniversary of Minecraft, one particular of the greatest games in the planet. As aspect of its ongoing celebration, publisher Microsoft revealed currently that lifetime sales of Minecraft have surpassed 176 million copies across consoles, Computer, and mobile. It also stated that developer Mojang is operating on a new game in the beloved franchise. No, it is not Minecraft two. But it has the prospective to be larger than that.

Minecraft Earth is a no cost-to-play augmented reality game for iOS and Android that transports the familiar block-developing gameplay into the genuine planet. You will collect sources, fight against mobs (Minecraft’s deadly monsters), and interact with other people’s creations. Mojang will launch a closed beta this summer season, and you can sign up for it right here.

In a weblog post, Microsoft stated Minecraft Earth is utilizing the company’s Azure Spatial Anchors AR tracking technologies and integrates with its backend platform PlayFab.

If the worldwide achievement of Niantic’s Pokémon Go is something to go by, Minecraft Earth need to have no problems acquiring a devoted audience — just feel of the millions of kids who grew up with the original game. Minecraft is also recognized for possessing absurdly inventive players who make the most intricate sculptures, and providing them the tools to place their creations into AR is an fascinating prospect.

It’ll be a busy summer season for Mojang. In addition to operating the Minecraft Earth beta, the developer will be preparing to host its annual Minecon livestream (which use to be a physical conference) on September 28.

That is typically the time exactly where Mojang reveals massive new updates about Minecraft, and assuming Minecraft Earth is not out but, probably we’ll hear far more about the new mobile game as nicely.

Above: Challenging to think that the game came out in 2009.

Image Credit: Mojang

A sturdy but difficult legacy

Prior to Fortnite took the crown, Minecraft was gaming’s greatest pop culture phenomenon, major to the creation of spinoffs, a boatload of toys, and other miscellaneous merchandise. Much more than 91 million individuals nevertheless play the game just about every month. A lot of streaming and YouTube personalities constructed their careers off producing videos that chronicle their Minecraft adventures.

The game’s ubiquity is one particular massive explanation for its achievement. Whilst Minecraft initially launched on Computer, it is now out there on virtually just about every modern day platform, including virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. The Minecraft Marketplace, exactly where players can sell their fancy builds, also supplies fresh content material on a constant basis.

Most of this expansion came right after Microsoft purchased the game and Mojang from original creator Markus “Notch” Persson for $two.five billion in 2014. As GamesBeat Computer Gaming editor Jeff Grubb wrote in March, the reclusive developer has turned into a “bizarre world wide web creep” who often espouses conspiracy theories on social media.

But with the current removal of Notch’s name from Minecraft’s splash screen (he’s nevertheless in the credits), Microsoft has been gradually attempting to distance itself away from him. And that is for the most effective, particularly as the corporation prepares to launch an additional potentially profitable version of the game.