Mojang have announced that Minecraft Earth is to be shut down in June, just 18 months after the game was fully released.
An update has been released to remove all real money microtransactions, but also try to help the game go out with a bang, bundling in extra content and reducing the costs and time of required for in-game activities.
On 30th June, all content and service support will stop and the game will be unplayable. All player data will be deleted on 1st July, outside of Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements, which can be linked to a wider profile.
Here’s what’s happened in this week’s update:
- Removing real-money transactions
- Drastically reducing ruby costs
- Including all completed, unreleased content currently in our pipeline
- Reducing time requirements for crafting and smelting
- Replacing unused crafting & smelting boosts with radius boosts of the same level
- Granting a set of Character Creator items to players who sign in between January 5 and June 30
Those with rubies (which could be earned or bought) will be granted Minecoins to use in the Minecraft Marketplace. Anyone that has ever made a purchase in Minecraft Earth will also receive a free copy of Minecraft Bedrock Edition, so that those Minecoins have some value!
It just goes to show that even a property such as Minecraft isn’t guaranteed success in everything it’s applied to. The main Minecraft game is the best-selling game of all time, having passed 200 million copies sold, and it’s spawned a number of spin-offs, such as the Telltale series Minecraft: Story mode and the action RPG dungeon crawler Minecraft Dungeons.
Minecraft Earth sought to riff off the augmented reality success of Pokémon Go, which was a huge success upon its launch in 2016. However, while Minecraft Earth had some neat augmented reality tricks, letting you build Minecraft dioramas in the real world, it didn’t manage to find the same level of success upon its wider release in November 2019, and honestly wasn’t quite as natural a fit as throwing Pokéballs at everything in sight.
Launching in the winter won’t have really helped it to gain much early momentum, but then the Covid-19 pandemic that brought much of the world to a standstill in March was the fledgeling game’s deathknell. Where Pokémon Go could lean on its recognition as Niantic tweaked in-game rewards and demands for lowered player mobility, Minecraft Earth likely didn’t have anywhere near enough momentum to carry forward.