While Microsoft spent most of the day focusing on enterprise solutions, including a way to protect elections from malicious software, it ended the Build 2019 keynote with a surprise announcement for a new augmented reality (AR) Minecraft experience coming to smartphones.
The still-unnamed app was shown off through a teaser trailer displayed at the end of the keynote, alongside a date – May 17 – which Microsoft says will be the time that it will reveal more information.
While the teaser is more a proof-of-concept than an actual product demonstration, it gives us a slight idea of what’s to come: an AR-based Minecraft game that looks, in some ways, like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
The teaser trailer shown at the end of the keynote showed someone accidentally switching phones with Minecraft Creative Director Saxs Persson before noticing an AR version of the game’s iconic pink pig and two of the game’s villager characters who shake their head in disapproval.
Along the bottom part of the screen we can see the item bar that has been apart of the game's UI since the very beginning, which could point to a building aspect. Though, we'll have to wait until the game's formal announcement in a few weeks to confirm our suspicions.
Congrats on 10 years, Minecraft
Admittedly, the timing of the game’s unveiling on May 17 couldn’t be more impeccable: it’s exactly 10 years to the day that the game first launched.
The 10-year anniversary is a good time as any to show off what's next for one of the world's most popular video games, especially as it sounds like the previous AR demo – the one shown off alongside Microsoft HoloLens – was merely a product demonstration.
That said, considering everybody owns a smartphone and very few of us own a HoloLens, this is probably the better direction for the game.
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