Microsoft just unveiled Minecraft Earth, bringing the augmented reality (AR) world of Pokemon Go and combining it with the social creativity of Minecraft. Players will be able to go adventure using their phones, be it Android and iOS, obtaining rare blocks, building huge structures, and collecting unique mobs for their own personal build spaces.

As a free-to-play game, Minecraft Earth raises the specter of some of gaming's most predatory monetization practices on mobile phones. Thankfully, Microsoft doesn't seem to be going down the same route other games have.

Speaking to Executive Producer Jesse Merriam, we learned that Minecraft Earth will have some form of funding model but it doesn't sound as though it'll be aggressive.

Get your mine on

Minecraft

Get your pick-axe on

The core Minecraft experience is still an awesome and near-constantly updated game, and a great place to start learning the rules of the game ahead of Minecraft Earth's availability.

Related: How gameplay works in Minecraft Earth

Will there be loot boxes or pay-to-win in Minecraft Earth?

While Microsoft isn't ready to talk about Minecraft Earth's monetization systems just yet, Merriam was eager to tell us what it wouldn't involve. Minecraft Earth will not sport any sort of time-gating, short-circuiting, pay-to-win, or loot box elements based on monetization, according to Merriam. This is what he had to say to us:

We're not super-focused on monetization right now, our approach is definitely a player-first approach, though. We're not gating any gameplay based on monetization. We're not short-circuiting any gameplay. There's no pay-to-win, there are no loot boxes. We're trying to be authentic in the way we determine how to connect to players, and we're trying to take a very player-first approach to monetization.

Some free-to-play games out there effectively force you to "stop playing" for a while unless you pony up some cash or wait a few hours, while others allow you to pay real money to circumvent a game's economy. It's great to know Minecraft won't feature any systems in this vein.

How might Minecraft Earth's monetization work?

While we don't have details just yet, it's pretty easy to speculate how monetization could work in Minecraft Earth. Microsoft already sells cosmetic skin packs and texture add-ons for Minecraft's core experiences, and I expect it'll do the same here. Additionally, games like Pokemon Go allow you to pay real money to increase your inventory space, but that could open a can of worms in Minecraft, considering the fixed inventory space has been a Minecraft staple for many years. Also, it seems to defy the "no pay-to-win" thing, since players with bigger inventories would effectively have an advantage over those who don't, in terms of crafting and collecting.

Until we have more details, we'll just have to hope that Microsoft and the developer Mojang make good on their word and keep the monetization as player-friendly as possible, particularly since Minecraft Earth will undoubtedly be popular with youngsters.

Related: When will Minecraft Earth become available?

Minecraft Earth will (hopefully) be awesome

Minecraft Earth has clear potential to be a big deal for Microsoft, but more importantly for Minecraft fans, exploding from its pixellated roots into the real world.

Minecraft Earth at Windows Central

Get your mine on

Minecraft

Get your pick-axe on

The core Minecraft experience is still an awesome and near-constantly updated game, and a great place to start learning the rules of the game ahead of Minecraft Earth's availability.

Awesome Minecraft merch

Love Minecraft? We're fairly certain you'll love these accessories equally.

Minecraft Sprites Premium T-Shirt ($19 at Amazon)

Show off your Minecraft pride with this premium tee from Jinx, showcasing many of Minecraft's iconic mobs.

Minecraft Lego: The End Battle ($20 at Amazon)

Who doesn't want a Lego Ender Dragon?

Minecraft for Nintendo Switch ($30 at Amazon)

Minecraft for Nintendo Switch features full cross-play between Xbox, Windows 10, mobile phones, and even VR!

Minecraft shades ($8 at Amazon)

You might think you're cool, but are you cool enough to wear these?

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