It looks as if Microsoft will finally make good on its promise to get Minecraft to reinforce reality, which was pre-shadowed via a HoloLens demo 2015.
But there is a plot twist – AR Minecraft can debut as a mobile app rather than as a HoloLens experience. On Monday along with Build 2019, Microsoft shared a teaser video that managed to give players a glimpse of what to expect while still cryptic on details, thus earning the status of a teaser.
Judging by the video, it looks like Microsoft is working to serve up an experience that allows players to face the game's brand blocky signs in magnified reality and interact with them via a similar set of actions, with the familiar pictograms shown on screen.
But there are so many questions unanswered! Is this full-fledged Minecraft in AR? Or will it follow the Niantics Pokémon GO formula? Will it integrate with Xbox Live? Could the professional department not find a new smartphone to use in the video other than a Samsung Galaxy S from the physical home button? Oh, the rest of the details will be presented during a life stream on May 17th.
Although there is a sense of irony that Minecraft is based on making its AR debut on mobile instead of HoloLens, the move is actually consistent with Microsoft's latest business practice.
Although the company continues to support Windows 10 Mobile until December 10, 2019, the truth is that the company raised the white flag on its mobile operating system and ecosystem long ago to publish mobile apps on iOS and Android.
This strategy has been extended to its enhanced reality program, as two of its corporate apps will make their way to iOS and Android this year.
Considering that Microsoft is positioning HoloLens 2 as a business machine rather than a consumer toy, it is reasonable to imagine that Minecraft may not have gone to AR for another two or three years if Microsoft's HoloLen product cycles are true that they form.
Minecraft AR on the mobile may not be the experience that AR players deserve, but that is what they need right now. Then we will sue in May 17th.