Microsoft bungles Xbox 'Minecraft' preview with disastrous ray tracing

Microsoft bungles Xbox ‘Minecraft’ preview with disastrous ray tracing

Minecraft is one of the biggest underdog hits in the history of video games. But let’s be honest: is ray tracing going to make it better?

Microsoft has just admitted they screwed up their most recent Xbox Insiders Minecraft preview. However, what messed the whole thing up is somewhat surprising and amusing to those outside the Minecraft community.

Apparently, someone involved in the update accidentally left unfinished code relating to the inclusion of ray tracing. If you’re anything like me, it comes across like a punchline in and of itself.

minecraft ray tracing fail
Image: Minecraft / Mojang Studios

Who the hell cares about playing Minecraft with ray tracing? This game looks like it was designed by a toddler stranded in the middle of a sea of LEGO. It’s not aesthetic, and it is not pretty.

Which isn’t to say that it’s not brilliant. The game is a phenomenon for a reason – the creativity it allows its players to exercise is innovative and addictive. The music is deserving of a place on any serious list of the best video soundtracks ever made.

The game’s technical execution and graphics, on the other hand, were never a key ingredient to its success. Ray tracing in Minecraft is equivalent to giving the Blair Witch Project a HD remaster with the complete Dolby Digital sound treatment; pointless and counterproductive.

By trying to make Minecraft pretty, you are actively taking focus away from what makes the game special – its wonderfully calibrated gameplay loop.

In fairness to Microsoft, and the development team behind these updates, the ray tracing on display actually looks surprisingly good. The way the light cascades over blocky buildings and through pixelated forests is kind of alluring.

It isn’t worth messing up a whole reveal, though, especially when the entire thing is meant to be an extended privilege to your most valued members.

According to the official Minecraft Twitter, the whole thing was an accident, and Xbox users won’t be getting the ray tracing update for a while yet.