It seems Microsoft is asking the same question many gamers are, "What's Minecraft up to?" Although when we ask it, it's because the game is in an awkward position of shoving away its creator for his crazed tweet storm. Or because it is doing some weird things with its latest update. Despite these recent hiccups, however, Minecraft remains a beloved classic. It only makes sense that Microsoft would want to remind us what the game is up to.
Fortunately, the question is not rhetorical. Microsoft actually plans to provide an answer, in the form of an announcement on May 17th. Until then, a short teaser video gives us an idea of what our old blocky buddy is planning for the future.
If you can't watch the teaser, the premise is that a man leaves his phone behind on a bench. When a young woman discovers the phone, she's surprised to find a Minecraft pig standing in a patch of blocky field on the screen. Even more surprising is that the scene transports to the real world. It's a lot like early Pokémon GO advertisements, or really any ad for an AR game at all. After staring in wonder at Minecraft made real, the woman sees the announcement date of May 17th. Then the man comes back to retrieve his phone.
There's not much information to dig into here, as Microsoft is no doubt saving it all for the upcoming announcement. Still, the idea seems clear. Minecraft is coming to phones in a new way, and it looks to have AR elements. Minecraft has always been as much a social game as a personal one. Years after its launch, impressive creations go viral on the regular. An AR game makes a lot of sense, then, if it lets people build things others can see when they walk by.
Microsoft also happens to be in need of game-changing content. While it seems to be focusing heavily on Games Pass, the service just isn't drawing the attention Sony's single-player experiences or Nintendo's first-party games are. If anything in Microsoft's library can compete with Kratos and Mario, it's Minecraft. If done right, a Minecraft AR game could even match Pokémon GO levels of success.