Edge – November 2019
English | 133 pages | pdf | 90.18 MB
If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding
As we send this issue to press, it’s the final days of the school summer holidays. One member of the Edge magazine brood is seeing deadline day out in fine style: sitting on his backside playing videogames. Were we not quite so profoundly jealous we might suggest he put the controller down for a bit; maybe go outside, enjoy the sun while it lasts. But we know the feeling all too well – and besides, he’s had plenty of fresh air these last six weeks.
Not all parents are quite so understanding, of course. (Fewer still are as jealous as we are.) Perhaps those stuffy old sorts will be a little more welcoming to this month’s cover game. Minecraft Earth drags a popcultural phenomenon into a very different kind of videogame open world, using augmented reality and Microsoft’s beefy, Azure-powered tech to let
smartphone owners tool around in Minecraft wherever they go. What fretful parents – and the scaremongering press coverage that always follows them – have often overlooked is that Mojang’s frighteningly popular game has always been a social pastime, a collaborative networked hangout spot for players young and old. Earth makes that explicitly clear, not only bringing players together but getting them out and about, too. Success feels inevitable, on a remarkable scale.
Minecraft Earth may feel like a banker, but it arrives at a delicate time. Over the five years since the $2.5 billion acquisition that stunned the game industry, Microsoft has given little away about its vision for the future of Minecraft. But you have to understand what you’ve got before you can figure out how to move it forward. Under Microsoft’s stewardship Mojang has improved the cadence of game updates, and done its bit to break down the walls between platforms through cross-play. But only now, with Earth and the forthcoming Minecraft Dungeons, are we beginning to see where Microsoft plans to take one of the hottest properties in all of videogames. It will not be an easy journey – but it’s going to be a fascinating one to follow. The story begins on p54.