• There's a new "Minecraft" game coming, and it's a twist on the wildly popular franchise.
  • The game is called "Minecraft Earth" - a nod to the central concept of the game, which promises to bring the world of "Minecraft" into reality.
  • Like "Pokémon Go" before it, "Minecraft Earth" is a free-to-play, smartphone-only game that's intended to get players exploring the world around them.
  • Go to for more.

The next major "Minecraft" game costs nothing, exists only on smartphones, and brings the blockbuster building game into the world around you.

Microsoft revealed "Minecraft Earth" on Friday - an upcoming smartphone game that intends to do for "Minecraft" what "Pokémon Go" did for "Pokémon." The game is scheduled to arrive on iOS and Android smartphones this year, with a closed beta to start.

In "Minecraft Earth," the world of "Minecraft" enters into the real world through your smartphone.

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This pig, for instance:


Or this entire little area sitting on a diner table:


Microsoft is promising that "Minecraft Earth" players will "collect resources, fight mobs, and gain experience points" - and the game can even be played with friends cooperatively.

The idea seems to be that, through exploring real-life locations and collecting resources, you'll be able to build creations that can then be placed in reality.

This is how the game's announcement describes what you do in "Minecraft Earth":

"Go out in the real world to find small clusters of blocks, chests or mobs called Tappables. As you walk, you will also find Adventures, which are small slices of 'Minecraft' worlds that you play in life-size AR - your sidewalk becomes a mine where there may be diamonds under your feet, or your local park may have 'Minecraft' trees where skeletons lurk, ready for a skirmish."

In "Pokémon Go," Pokémon appear in reality through your smartphone screen. The same applies in "Minecraft Earth," but instead of pocket monsters it's focused on displaying your creations. Instead of tapping on gym locations for Pokéballs, you tap on "Tappables" for building resources.

There's no release date set for "Minecraft Earth" just yet, but it's scheduled to arrive at some point this year.

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