It seems like it has been a long wait, but the early access release of Minecraft Earth is rolling out this week, and nine countries have been listed for initial availability on developer Mojang’s new augmented reality version of Minecraft.

The countries in question are the UK, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Sweden. Interestingly the United States is not on the list of nine, with Mojang noting in a blog post that it will be bringing Minecraft Earth to more countries in the coming weeks.

Precisely how long that will take is unclear, as is the other countries where Minecraft Earth is planned to launch, which means it is still to be seen if it will make its way locally. We’re hoping that it does, with Microsoft (the company which owns Mojang) having s strong presence locally, as well as Minecraft having proved an extremely popular gaming title locally.

Adding the AR elements of Minecraft Earth to the mix locally could see a renewed interest in the original game, as well as it being used as a potential teaching aid for students interested in augmented reality.

For now we have to sit tight and see what Mojang has planned. It will also be interesting to see how this early access version of the game will differ from the fully fledged iteration, with the developer still aiming to add more elements to the finished product.

Either way we can see there being a new mobile game that younger smartphone owners will be obsessing over in the coming months and years, should it arrive in SA.