Microsoft announced on Monday that it’s adding Nvidia’s RTX “ray tracing” technology to “Minecraft,” one of the most popular video games in the world.
Nvidia’s ray tracing technology is designed to make games look better by simulating the path of light travelling from a light source in a game, like a light bulb, fire, or the sun, more accurately than conventional video game lighting. The result is more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows in a video game.
The announcement only relates to the PC version “Minecraft,” since Nvidia’s ray tracing technology is only available on Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards designed for PC. “Minecraft” creative director Saxs Persson said that even “Minecraft” modifications, or “mods” — an important aspect for the game’s community — will support Nvidia’s ray tracing.
Microsoft and “Minecraft’s” studio, Mojang, haven’t changed much in the last few years. The addition of ray tracing marks one of the biggest updates to Minecraft’s graphics to date.
With that said, the graphical update comes at a cost that’s not typically associated with “Minecraft.” “Minecraft’s” popularity can partly be attributed to its playability on almost any computer — the game’s power requirements are so low that the game can typically run on a laptop that costs $350, as well as on mobile devices and the current-generation Xbox One. To experience “Minecraft” with Nvidia’s ray tracing on PC, players would need to buy an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card, which starts at around $350 on its own.
Microsoft’s next generation of Xbox console— known as “Project Scarlett” — will have ray tracing technology, and it wouldn’t be surprising if “Minecraft” on Project Scarlett will have ray tracing, too. With that said, it would likely be AMD that enables ray tracing for the Xbox Project Scarlett version of “Minecraft,” as Project Scarlett runs on AMD hardware.
Check out some examples of what “Minecraft” looks like before and after Nvidia’s ray tracing technology treatment: