Mojang Studios confirms Xbox Series X|S ray tracing support in Minecraft isn't releasing in near future

Minecraft RTX Screenshot
Minecraft RTX Screenshot (Image credit: Windows Central)

Update, March 31, 2022, at 1:45 p.m. CT: Mojang Studios has finally released a statement claiming the code was released in error, and doesn't signify any impending release plans.

What you need to know

  • Players have been waiting for Minecraft to become upgraded for the current-gen Xbox Series X|S consoles for many months.
  • On Monday, some players began reporting that the latest build of Minecraft Preview was showing as Xbox Series X|S Optimized.
  • A few of these players were then able to access ray tracing on Xbox Series X|S, either through joining a PC ray tracing world or creating a new world.
  • Mojang Studios could be preparing to, finally, begin testing Xbox Series X|S ray tracing with Minecraft Preview players.

Mojang Studios is a member of the growing Xbox Game Studios family, making Minecraft a first-party Microsoft title. Despite this fact, Minecraft has yet to be properly upgraded on Microsoft's powerful Xbox Series X|S consoles, leaving many players to feel disappointed or frustrated. On Monday, reports from a handful of players suggest that Mojang Studios could finally be preparing to fully test ray tracing for Minecraft, bringing it into the world of Xbox Series X|S Optimized games.

A small handful of players that are enrolled in Minecraft Preview, the upcoming replacement for Mojang Studios' long-running Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta program have reported the title as appearing as Xbox Series X|S Optimized on the current-gen consoles. This observation comes despite the lack of any further news or communication from Mojang Studios, and no mention of ray tracing or current-gen upgrades in the latest Minecraft Preview build.

Among these players, an even smaller number have actually managed to enable ray tracing on Microsoft's latest and greatest consoles, heavily indicating Mojang Studios is indeed nearly ready to begin testing a proper upgrade for Minecraft on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Players have been able to access ray tracing on Xbox Series X|S either by joining a multiplayer game with a PC that has installed the necessary ray tracing packs and enabled the feature, or by creating a new world and accessing the "Ray tracing" toggle in Settings.

Unfortunately, we here at Windows Central were unable to corroborate the reports, despite being enrolled in Minecraft Preview on an Xbox Series X. I was able to join a ray traced world I started on my PC, and my Xbox Series X seemingly downloaded the necessary ray tracing packs, but to no avail. Minecraft Preview does not show the Xbox Series X|S Optimized tag, and the "Ray tracing" toggle in Settings is still greyed out (as it has been since its introduction on PC).

Still, there are enough Minecraft players sharing the story to strongly suggest Minecraft is about to become Xbox Series X|S Optimized with ray tracing support, or at least that Mojang Studios is ready to collect feedback from the community on the feature. If you want to try your luck at gaining early access, you can use our guide to learn how to download Minecraft Preview.

Minecraft on Xbox Series X|S has been actively discussed within the Minecraft community since before the launch of the advanced gaming consoles, after Microsoft initially demoed ray tracing using Minecraft. Since then, Mojang Studios has kept quiet about the feature. Now, it seems good news may be on the horizon for one of the best Xbox games you can play. We'll continue to monitor this situation for any official word from Mojang Studios, especially as new Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta and Minecraft Preview builds are released in the near future.

Update, March 31, 2022, at 1:45 p.m. CT — Mojang Studios states the prototype code was released in error, and doesn't signify intent to release

Days after a handful of players were able to access ray tracing on Xbox Series X|S consoles through Minecraft Preview, Mojang Studios has finally released a statement in response. According to the company, what was discovered by players was prototype code that was included in a Minecraft Preview build by mistake, and has since been removed in the latest Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta.

Mojang Studios continued by affirming the accidental release does not indicate any near future plans to release ray tracing support for Minecraft on Xbox Series X|S, which is already leading to disappointment among the Minecraft community. While not denying that ray tracing support is in the works for an eventual release, players shouldn't expect the feature to arrive on Xbox Series X|S any time soon.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.