Microsoft revealed more of its Minecraft Earth mobile game coming to smartphones later this year, thanks to a live demo showcased during Apple's WWDC event yesterday. The demo, while focused on showcasing what gameplay would look like when you have it in your hands, did note an upcoming beta and show off some cool features that weren't previously mentioned, namely the People Inclusion feature.
The downside here is that Microsoft and its Mojang studio have made this an iOS exclusive feature, and there's no current explanation of what the reasoning was behind this decision. It is possible that this has something to do with an exclusivity contract Microsoft has made with Apple, and if that's the case then perhaps it will end up coming to Android versions of the game at a later date.
Since the live demo also revealed that Microsoft is looking to launch the game later this Summer for iOS devices in a beta form, there is a possibility that Android users may get their chance to test out the game around the same time, though this could be an exclusive thing for iOS devices as well.
In addition to the People Inclusion feature the demo showcases what it will look like when you play the game, from grabbing and placing block materials and setting up red stone circuitry to make things move, you even get your first look at animals in an augmented reality form.
Beyond all that, choosing to make a feature exclusive to iOS demonstrates that contractual agreements between companies for exclusive rights to game releases or features isn't just limited to consoles and PC.
There is no outright statement on Microsoft's or Mojang's parts that say the People Inclusion feature is limited to iOS because of an agreement, but it's hard to imagine that only Apple phones will have access to it due to something in the hardware or software that isn't present on Android devices.
Stuff that should be present on both versions of the game is the ability for players to look through the screens of their device when in the game and view others who are also playing and see what items they are currently holding or using, including which block material is being harvested or planted, or which tool they may be using to harvest materials, like the pickaxe.
If you're watching someone use the pickaxe it also shows the pickaxe moving just as if you were using it in the game. Little animations like these add some attention to detail and a level of immersive gameplay that makes things feel more real.
Though you're not really seeing someone hacking away at a piece of stone or dirt, it's a touch that will probably appeal to fans of the Minecraft franchise, especially those with big imaginations and a tendency to feel like they're in the world of the game that they're playing.
Overall it seems that Microsoft has really pulled out all the stops here with Minecraft Earth, and the beta will surely only increase the excitement players have for the upcoming mobile game. It's not know whether or not players will be able to log into the game with already existing Minecraft accounts, but there's a chance details like that one will be made available once the beta or the full game goes live.