Although ten years old, the blocky sandbox that is Minecraft continues to go strong, finding new ways for people to play the game both in terms of content and platforms. And we’ve found out today that there’s a new free way to play, and you can sign up now.

Credit: Mojang/Microsoft Studios
(Image credit: Mojang/Microsoft Studios)

Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality edition of the game. Running on iOS or Android smartphones, it promises to let you build with the game’s famous cubes at a lifesize scale. It promises that it will go into closed beta "this summer," so it doesn’t sound like we’ve got too long to wait. The beta will be available to a limited number of people, but developers Mojang and Microsoft Studios say they still expect there to be ‘hundreds of thousands of players’ at this stage.

The mobile game includes elements of other popular multiplayer games, such as collaboration on builds, the ability to find and capture unique versions of the game’s mobs (non-player characters like cows, chickens, villagers etc.), and explore and protect your town in an AR battle against Minecraft’s numerous enemies. The one thing you won’t find are loot boxes, which the developers promise are not going to be a part of the game.

You are able to sign up for Minecraft Earth now, if you go to the linked page and put in your Microsoft or Xbox account details, your App Store or Google Play details and a few other pieces of information.

If you do, you can get a special Earth skin and a chance to be one of the first to play the game once it goes live in a few months. In order to do so, you’ll have to make sure that the device you want to play on is iOS 10 or later, or Android 7 or later if you’re not on an Apple device.

Credit: Mojang/Microsoft Studios
(Image credit: Mojang/Microsoft Studios)

Minecraft has already been available in VR since 2016 on Windows PCs and Samsung Gear VR. But this new AT project looks like you won’t need any more kit than your smartphone to play it, plus it’s introducing a whole different kind of multiplayer experience to the gameplay you’re familiar with. We can’t wait to see how it all works come the summer.

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