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Looks like Minecraft is finally getting raytracing on Xbox Series X/S

UPDATE: Feature "inadvertently included".

UPDATE 31/3/22: Following the actually quite exciting discovery of raytracing support in the latest Minecraft Preview build on Xbox, Microsoft has admitted the feature was "inadvertently included" and that players shouldn't expect to see it on consoles in the "near future".

"The previous Minecraft Preview build available to Xbox Insiders inadvertently included prototype code for raytracing support on Xbox consoles," Microsoft said in a message posted to the official Minecraft Twitter account.

It added the "early prototype code" has now been removed from Minecraft Preview and that its recent appearance "doesn't signal near future plans to bring raytracing support to consoles."

Digital Foundry - Minecraft RTX Beta Hands-On.

ORIGINAL STORY 29/3/22: Despite being used as a showcase for Xbox Series X/S' raytracing capabilities prior to the console's launch in 2020, Minecraft has so far remained doggedly raytracing-free on the machine. That looks to be about to change, however, with the feature having now surfaced in the latest build of Minecraft's Xbox Preview programme.

As spotted by Tom Warren, senior editor on The Verge, Minecraft's latest Preview version on Xbox Series X/S (currently only available to Xbox Insider members) features raytracing as a toggle-able option, giving the more-than-a-decade-old game a bit of a modern day spruce-up.

Before you excitedly rush to check it out, however, it's worth noting the feature currently only appears to be available for select users, with VGC reporting raytracing can't be enabled on its machine right now, despite the presence of the toggle in the options menu.

Raytracing initially made its official debut in Minecraft back in 2020, when Microsoft teamed up with Nvidia to integrate the feature for use with RTX graphics cards on PC. As Digital Foundry put it at the time, the results were "transformative". On Xbox, however, the feature has remained notably absent, despite Microsoft using Minecraft as an early showcase for Xbox Series X/S' raytracing capabilities in a blog post more than two years ago.

Alongside raytracing, expect to see plenty more new features heading to Minecraft Preview - which was recently turned into a convenient standalone app - in the not-too-distant future, particularly as the game's highly anticipated Wild Update, which adds the likes of frog mobs and a new mangrove swamp biome, draws near.

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About the Author

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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