Minecraft accidentally adds Xbox Series X feature early

A handful of Minecraft characters walking in a forest
(Image credit: Microsoft)

After rolling out a Minecraft Preview build that allowed Xbox Series X|S players to enable ray tracing in the game, Microsoft has announced the feature was included as a mistake and removed its support.

Players could enable the next-gen feature by downloading the Minecraft Preview build – a test version of the game that includes upcoming features, and is available for Xbox Insider members. As reported by The Verge, by toggling a ray tracing option found in the game’s video settings, you could activate the advanced lighting mode.

However, while some fans were excited to finally see ray tracing make its way to the classic block-building game, Microsoft has since announced that the inclusion of the feature was a mistake.

“The previous Minecraft Preview build available to Xbox Insiders inadvertently included prototype code for ray tracing support on Xbox consoles,” the official Minecraft Twitter page said in a tweet.

“This early prototype code has been removed from Preview and doesn't signal near future plans to bring ray tracing support to consoles.”

That means you won’t be able to activate ray tracing in Minecraft through this preview build any longer, and Microsoft doesn’t want you thinking that the accidental inclusion of the feature in any way suggests ray tracing will be added to the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S versions of the game anytime soon – which be disappointing news for some Minecraft fans.

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More to come

Microsoft announced ray tracing support for Minecraft way back in 2019, and showed off just how effective the advanced rendering technique can be with a couple of screenshots in 2020.

But, it sounds like we'll be waiting a while longer for full ray tracing support to make its way to Minecraft's Xbox version. It’ll most likely release when Minecraft receives a full next-gen update. Currently, Xbox Series X|S and PS5 players still using the version of the game available on PS4 and Xbox One.

If you’re playing Minecraft on PC, however, don’t worry. Minecraft’s desktop version has included ray tracing support since 2020, and we reckoned it was pretty mesmerizing when we tested out the official Nvidia-developed RTX patch for the game. 

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.