A couple of months back, Minecraft developer Mojang revealed their plans for an alternate-reality mobile game based around Minecraft. The game, fittingly entitled Minecraft Earth, has now begun its first beta process. It's all pretty limited so far, only being available to those players who signed up in the cities of Seattle, London, Stockholm, and Tokyo. However, Mojang assured that more cities would receive the beta sometime "in the next few days." For those who don't know, AR games are experiences like Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, etc.  Basically, games that take your surrounding environment and turn them into a sort of virtual playground, encouraging you to get out and explore to make progress.

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Minecraft Earth is no different. There's no NDA on the beta test, meaning those playing can post as many images and gameplay videos as they want. Thanks to that, everyone's gotten a better idea of how the game works. The crux of it is that you'll be looking for blocks and items to collect, as well as contending with mobs. Currently, the mobs aren't yet in the game; they'll be added in later in the form of an "Adventures" mode. Since the game will be free-to-play upon the official release, there will be an in-game store for item purchases, which currently is also unavailable. If you ride around the area in your car while the game is active, your character will be shown riding a minecart. Head wherever you please, collect blocks and start building. The main focus of Minecraft Earth is to build structures and objects like you would in-game, but scale them to size in the real world.

Your character has a level, and as that level increases, the size of build plates you can use goes up too, starting from the smallest and working forward. Naturally, because this is the Minecraft community, players have already taken to creating some wild creations and tools out of what's available so far. Once you've built something you're proud of, you can share it with the rest of the community. Because of the nature behind this building feature, the AR camera for Minecraft Earth must always be turned on. Keep that in mind, especially if you have a phone or mobile device that drains at a really fast rate. The AR Camera is smart enough here to avoid problems like bodies of water and trees, so you won't have to worry about that. All of this comes in close collaboration with publisher Microsoft and their AR HoloLens team.

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If you're interested in Minecraft Earth and want to sign up, it's quick and easy to do so. Just head to the official website and click the signup button. As it states on there, you'll need to make sure your mobile device is running Android 7/iOS10 at the bare minimum. You must also be older than 18, and have a valid Microsoft or Xbox Live account. Meet all the criteria? Then you're good to go! With four cities now included in the beta rollout, more should follow over the coming week. There's no way to tell who will get it when, so keep your eyes peeled. There's also no sign of an official release date for the app just yet, but discussions for that will come once the beta ends. You can enjoy Minecraft Earth on any compatible Android or iOS device. You can check out the game's overview trailer below to get an idea of what we just discussed.

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