Microsoft unveils Minecraft Earth, an AR game for the Pokemon Go generation

From CNET: Pokemon Go changed the way people think of mobile games, with its slick use of augmented reality overlaying computer-generated monsters on the real world. Now Minecraft wants to change the way we think of AR.

Microsoft on Friday announced a new take on Minecraft as the game hits the 10th year since its initial release. The free title, called Minecraft Earth, uses ideas similar to those in 2016's hit mobile game Pokemon Go. And just like that game, it'll be available on Apple and Android-powered devices when it launches later this year.

Here's how the game works: Using your own two feet, you explore your neighborhood with your phone pointed in front of you. As you walk around, you may see an animal, monster or landmark on your screen, and just like in Pokemon Go, that game world will be overlaid on the real one.

Microsoft isn't just chasing Pokemon Go with an AR me-too title. The technology is becoming popular among tech companies as a way to spice up their apps and potentially remake the way we use devices in the future. It may seem like a fad, particularly because it's most popularly used with filters in Instagram and Snapchat. But AR is also powering headsets like Microsoft's HoloLens 2, Magic Leap and an unannounced headset from Apple, which sources told CNET is expected to be released next year.

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