Mojang, the original development studio for Minecraft, has worked on more than a few Minecraft spin-offs over the past few years. One of them was Minecraft Earth, a free-to-play augmented reality game where you could build structures in the real world, but the game will now shut down only two years after the initial announcement.
"Minecraft Earth was designed around free movement and collaborative play," Mojang wrote in a blog post, "two things that have become near impossible in the current global situation. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021."
The game is rolling out a final feature update to players, which removes all in-app purchases and reduces currency/building costs. Minecraft Earth will stop working on July 1st, at which point any remaining ruby balance (the in-game currency) will be converted to Minecoins for buying skins and texture packs in standard Minecraft. Anyone who ever made a purchase in Minecraft Earth will also receive a completely free copy of Minecraft.
Even though Mojang cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the main reason for Minecraft Earth shutting down, it's clear the game never reached the momentum it needed for long-term success. Minecraft Earth was competing with games like Pokémon Go, but general interest in Mojang's title never came close to the popularity of Pokémon Go, even though Go was already three years old by the time Minecraft Earth was released. Mojang's game also never left Early Access on the Play Store, indicating it was regarded as beta-quality for its entire life.
The final update to Minecraft Earth is rolling out now on the Play Store. The game will keep functioning until July 1st, so if you want to see what Mojang was up to for the past two years, there's still some time left.
- Minecraft Blog