Minecon 2019 news roundup: Minecraft bees, Nether Update, Minecraft Earth release, and much more

The Minecon 2019 event revealed tons of new information for Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft Earth this week, showcasing the future of the biggest video game franchise in the world. If you weren't able to catch the live stream, we rounded up the key information you need to know from the show, right here.

Minecraft Earth: Early access, crafting, and the future

Minecraft Earth is heading to open beta in October, inviting players from all around the world to begin testing and playing an early version of the game. The rollout will take a few months to fully complete, starting with the game's current closed beta territories of the UK, U.S., Sweden, Japan, and Mexico. Microsoft expects Minecraft Earth to be fully rolled out across the world by the end of 2019, with the exception of China.

Microsoft notes that the slow rollout is to ensure player safety is maintained, as well as global server stability. This version of Minecraft Earth will also include Adventures, which are augmented-reality (AR) experiences where players can fight mobs, obtain rare rewards, and so on, using their phone cameras. It also includes crafting and smelting, all based on the same systems from the Bedrock version of the game.

For more information on how to sign up for Minecraft Earth's open access, head over here.

Minecraft Earth early access sign-ups go live

Minecraft Dungeons cinematic intro revealed

Minecraft Dungeons is an upcoming Diablo-like dungeon crawler set in the Minecraft universe. Players will be able to loot, battle, and level up their characters in a variety of ways, along with a wide variety of fantasy warrior archetypes like wizards, archers, and warriors. Microsoft unveiled the cinematic intro trailer during Minecon and also showcased how co-operative play works with local users.

Minecraft Dungeons should hit PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch in the spring of 2020.

Minecraft's Nether Update

A hoglin

A hoglin (Image credit: Mojang)

The next big update for Minecraft brings some much-needed attention to the hellish Nether dimension, adding new biomes, new mechanics, new atmospheric visual effects, and an all-new race called Piglins. Piglins, who are essentially unzombified Zombie Pigmen, build settlements in the same way as overworld traders. They are, however, hostile, and will attack the player unless they're wearing a suit of gold armor. For more information on the Nether update, hit the link below.

Minecraft Nether Update: Everything we know so far

Minecraft Mountain Update

Minecon viewers also voted for Mojang to update mountains first after the Nether Update, which will add new types of snow and resources, goats, and revamped generation to make ranges "more majestic."

Bees, beehives, and now honey

Microsoft also revealed that, along with the bees update, Minecraft will also now get a new honey block, bringing with it a ton of new sticky mechanics. Players walking on a honey block cannot jump or run, but they also work with pistons, which could lead to interesting contraptions. Honey is harvested from beehives that have been pacified by campfire smoke. If you try to harvest honey without campfire smoke, nearby bees will attack you. The bees update should hit Bedrock and Java "before the holidays."

Everything we know about Minecraft bees

Minecraft Character Creator

Minecraft also demonstrated its previously revealed Character Creator, which will bring additional options to skin your characters across the Bedrock versions of the game, including Minecraft Earth.

Alongside capes hitting Bedrock for the first time, the Character Creator will also bring exclusive cosmetics for certain challenges. For example, long-time players will be able to don a special super-long beard to show off their dedication. The Character Creator will also bring emotes to the game.

And everything else!

Microsoft is introducing a new subscription tier for Minecraft Realms, dubbed Realms Plus. Realms Plus will effectively be the same as regular Realms with 10 player slots, however, it'll also include more than 50 items from the Minecraft Marketplace, with new content added for subscribers each month. Microsoft is working with Ravensburger to produce a Minecraft board game dubbed Builders & Biomes. It's a strategic board game complete with mob battles and block resources to mine, and it should be available in the U.S. in November, and a little bit earlier in October for Europe.

The team at Mojang also demonstrated new developer tools for mod creators. Mod creators can now select crops and blocks and instantly change their parameter states, including colors and block types, rather than physically place new blocks, speeding up the map creation process. They're also adding a "TNT wand" which allows mod creators to instantly destroy large areas of the map. Map creators and scripters will also be able to transform entire areas into a TNT block, which then explodes into a pre-created structure. They demonstrated houses being created instantaneously using a special TNT block, which will help marketplace sellers create areas much more quickly.

Did you catch Minecon 2019? What do you think of the news? Hit the comments, let us know.

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Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!