Xbox Insiders got an early look at Minecraft’s ray tracing capabilities on next-gen consoles earlier this week. A preview build of the game arrived with video settings that let users turn RTX on, vastly improving Minecraft’s lighting system to be far more realistic.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the preview build was just a big mistake and not an indication of Minecraft’s imminent ray tracing upgrade. Minecraft’s official Twitter account confirmed in a tweet that the ray-tracing options were added “inadvertently” to the preview build and have since been removed.
"The previous Minecraft Preview build available to Xbox Insiders inadvertently included prototype code for ray tracing support on Xbox consoles,” wrote developer Mojang. “This early prototype code has been removed from Preview and doesn't signal near future plans to bring ray tracing support to consoles."
Naturally, many fans were upset to hear that ray tracing was not about to officially launch for the console version of Minecraft. Ray tracing has long been available on the PC version after beta testing concluded in 2020, although it requires an Nvidia GPU and DLSS to ensure no loss in performance.
The Verge tested the ray-tracing enabled preview build of Minecraft and found that it contained "unoptimized code that required separate packs and workarounds to work fully." Even though it might not be ready for prime time, it seems strange for Mojang to say they have no plans to bring ray tracing support to consoles.
Especially when AMD recently confirmed its performance-boosting FSR 2.0 technology would be coming to Xbox Series X|S. Essentially performing the same service as Nvidia's DLSS, FSR 2.0 would allow Xbox Series X|S consoles to enable ray tracing without a significant loss in performance.
Neither Mojang nor Microsoft has confirmed a ray tracing update for Minecraft on next-gen consoles.
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