Xbox Insiders are testing ray tracing in Minecraft

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,493   +1,040
Staff member
In context: At Gamescom 2019, Microsoft and Nvidia announced ray tracing was coming to Minecraft for Windows. Mojang added it with version 1.16.200. Of course, users need an Nvidia GeForce RTX 20 series or AMD Radeon RX 6000 series or higher to enable it.

Recently, Microsoft started testing ray tracing for the Xbox Series X|S version of Minecraft. The latest preview available to Xbox Insiders has "limited" ray tracing support. The build is marked as "optimized," meaning that it's almost ready to roll out to regular users.

The Verge's Tom Warren has been testing it out and notes that it is a bit tricky to get it to work on Xbox at the moment. The settings are there in the preview build, but since it relies on an additional resource pack that users cannot download to the Xbox, the settings do nothing.

The workaround is to host a game on the Windows version with ray tracing enabled, then join that game through the Xbox Series X (or S). Once in the session, the Xbox settings to toggle RT and set the render distance work as expected (above tweet).

Minecraft and its minimalistic low-res graphics is not the first title that one would think of as a ray-tracing showcase, and to be honest, it's not really. The effect is rather underwhelming.

That said, adding shadows and reflections to such a game does genuinely improve the overall look. Given a choice between playing with RT on or off, most people would probably prefer it enabled as long as it didn't hurt performance.

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Watzupken

Posts: 603   +502
“ Given a choice between playing with RT on or off, most people would probably prefer it enabled as long as it didn't hurt performance.”

Unfortunately, it does hurt performance. Whether you are using an AMD or Nvidia GPU, the performance hit is very substantial. So much so that you won’t find it enjoyable unless you enable something like DLSS or FSR to claw back some performance.

In my opinion, Minecraft have existed and became very popular even without RT. While it is nice to have RT added to it, I really don’t see much benefit to it. It is like adding RT to Fortnite where it is nice to have, but realistically, competitive gamers can’t care about it.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,493   +1,040
Staff member
“ Given a choice between playing with RT on or off, most people would probably prefer it enabled as long as it didn't hurt performance.”

Unfortunately, it does hurt performance. Whether you are using an AMD or Nvidia GPU, the performance hit is very substantial. So much so that you won’t find it enjoyable unless you enable something like DLSS or FSR to claw back some performance.

In my opinion, Minecraft have existed and became very popular even without RT. While it is nice to have RT added to it, I really don’t see much benefit to it. It is like adding RT to Fortnite where it is nice to have, but realistically, competitive gamers can’t care about it.
Can't argue with you.
 

TempleOrion

Posts: 85   +55
"Minecraft and its minimalistic low-res graphics is not the first title that one would think of as a ray-tracing showcase, and to be honest, it's not really. The effect is rather underwhelming."

Such a bizarre game to waste RT on... not that it's much cop on *any* games as yet.