There are now two different Minecraft ray tracing demos, but no word on when it will be playable

Minecraft is charming in its original voxel form, but wow does it truly transform with ray traced lighting cast across its blocks. “I want to live inside of it,” wrote Shaun when he played Minecraft with ray tracing last August. The version he played was a demo created by Nvidia to showcase its RTX graphics cards and their ray tracing support. It also came with a custom texture pack to help the ray tracing shine. We haven’t heard much about it since. This week, Microsoft showed off Minecraft with ray tracing running on the upcoming Xbox Series X—but it’s a new implementation, made to run without Nvidia’s RTX tech.

This is where things start to get a bit messy. Both Microsoft’s new implementation and the Nvidia RTX demo are based on DXR, or DirectX Ray Tracing, an extension of DX12. That makes sense for this new version—of course Microsoft would be using DirectX for its own games and its new console. But because the Xbox Series X runs on a new AMD chip, it can’t exactly use Nvidia’s RTX-specific implementation.

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