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Microsoft admits Minecraft ray tracing mistake

Microsoft has admitted that the inclusion of ray tracing support in Minecraft for Xbox consoles was a mistake.

Fans of Minecraft will have noticed that the developers were playing around with ray tracing on the Xbox Series X and Series S versions of the game, but sadly it has now been revealed that this was never official.

For anyone who is out of the loop, ray tracing is an advanced way of rendering light and shadows in a video game scene. It works by simulating and tracking distinct rays of light produced by a source, as to create an accurate visual.

Shadows end up looking more dynamic and will move accordingly depending on where the light source is in a game, which created more realistic lighting in darker environments.

Ray tracing does take a lot of power, however, which is why not every game or console supports it.

Turning back to Minecraft, the official Twitter account for the game tweeted out to say that the previous Minecraft build accidentally included ray tracing, but that it doesn’t indicate plans to include the software on the Xbox in the future.

This is a disappointment to many fans, as it was reported by various outlets that the latest Minecraft Preview is optimised for ray tracing support on both the Xbox consoles.

Since the code turned out to just be a prototype, it has now been pulled.

There have been no further comments from Microsoft or Minecraft on if ray tracing will ever come to the Xbox Series X and Series S, whether that will be in preview form or in the retail builds.

Trusted Take

It’s very disappointing to hear Microsoft won’t be adding ray tracing support for Minecraft after all. It seemed like the obvious candidate for the technology given that Microsoft owns the game, and ray tracing support has already been added on PC.

But this is yet another example of current-gen consoles struggling to offer support for the advanced light-rendering technology. With even high-end PCs seeing a significant hit to performance with ray tracing activated, it’s unrealistic to expect ray tracing to be utilised to its full potential on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

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