Minecraft Update Accidentally Referenced a Long-Awaited Feature

Xbox Insiders recently got a Minecraft update as part of the new Minecraft Preview testing program with a new feature hinted at within that update. Ray tracing was referenced, a feature which is live in the PC version of the game and is one that people on other platforms have been asking about for a long time. That naturally led people to believe that ray tracing would actually be coming to Xbox systems and perhaps elsewhere, but the Minecraft team cleared up those speculations this week by confirming that there are no "near future plans" for ray tracing on consoles.

The Minecraft Preview update in question went out earlier this week, but if you didn't get it when it was available, there's no point in checking it now for ray tracing now that the references to the graphics feature have been removed. The official Minecraft Twitter account confirmed as much this week by acknowledging the error in the Minecraft Preview update released to Xbox Insiders and said it "inadvertently included prototype code for raytracing support on Xbox consoles." For those who thought this meant the feature was on the way soon, you'll have to keep waiting since Mojang said the accidental inclusion of this feature "doesn't signal near future plans to bring raytracing support to consoles."

It's worth pointing out that the statement above doesn't say ray tracing isn't ever coming to consoles – it just says the accident in the update is not an indication that the feature is part of Mojang's "near future plans." So those on consoles can still hope for the feature in the future, but not right now apparently.

Microsoft and the Minecraft team have certainly talked about ray tracing in relation to the Xbox consoles and the PC platform in the past prior to the feature being enabled on the latter for those with PCs to support it. Back in March 2020 when the Xbox Series X was still being talked about prior to its release, an article on the Xbox Wire showed off ray tracing's potential impact on Minecraft. A month later in April 2020, Microsoft was inviting people to test out ray tracing on Windows 10 systems.

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Ray tracing may still come to Minecraft on consoles in the future, but it's probably best to just look forward to things like the new biome and mobs, for now.