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Minecraft Earth gives franchise a Pokémon Go twist

Microsoft launching free-to-play augmented reality mobile game in closed beta this summer

Microsoft is taking Minecraft for a stroll. The company today announced Minecraft Earth, a free-to-play augmented reality mobile game that appears to take some cues from Niantic's hit Pokémon Go.

Set to enter beta testing this summer, Minecraft Earth will let players build things together like in the original Minecraft and then allow them to place those structures throughout the real world. By exploring their neighborhoods, players will also gather resources for building, discover new things they can use in their creations and battle creatures new and old.

It's unclear exactly how the game's monetization scheme will work, but Microsoft has said it will not use loot boxes.

Microsoft has also anticipated the same sort of safety concerns Pokémon Go ran into, and addressed that in a FAQ about the game.

"We take safety seriously and are taking measures to make Minecraft Earth an enjoyable and reliable experience for all our players," the FAQ says. "Players and parents will be able to use Account Management to adjust safety and privacy settings. A reporting system will allow players to report any concerns in-game and on our website. In addition, we will also have a moderation team working 24/7 to manage and respond to reports."

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