Java, Windows 10, or Console: Which Version of Minecraft Is Right for You? | IGN

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the amount of time people spend on gaming has jumped significantly over the last few weeks. One of the biggest games, maybe even THE biggest game, of the last decade is now even bigger thanks to shelter-in-place and social distancing: Minecraft.

But what if, for some reason, you don’t have Minecraft? Or what if you have Minecraft on your console but want to get Minecraft on your PC? We’re here to help you navigate the sometimes-confusing world of Minecraft and its version differences.

Where to Buy Minecraft for PC

This seems like it should be straightforward enough, right? Well… It’s not. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC right now, you might have seen a link to buy Minecraft in your Start menu. Well, that’s Minecraft for Windows 10, not Minecraft (Java Edition), which might be the version you’re actually looking for.

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Minecraft (Java Edition)

Minecraft for Windows 10

The original Minecraft for PC and Mac is often referred to as “Java Edition” online, to differentiate it from Minecraft for Windows 10. Both versions have mod support, although the Java Edition has more (and arguably better) choices. However, if you have a low-powered computer, the Windows 10 version will probably look and run better.

Minecraft for Windows 10 also runs on HoloLens, which basically no one owns, but it also runs on Oculus. If you want Minecraft in VR, the Windows 10 version is your best bet.

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The Windows 10 version of Minecraft is technically a “Bedrock Edition” of the game, which is an iteration of the now-discontinued “Pocket Edition.” Pocket Edition was the mobile version of Minecraft that went on to be the foundation, or bedrock, of the current multi-platform editions of Minecraft.

Because of this, it has content packs you can buy to shake things up, and different versions include different themed-content. For example, the Switch version of Minecraft comes with the Super Mario Mash-Up Pack. If you’re familiar with console versions, it’s the same idea: themed packs changing up the appearance of mobs and blocks in the game.

Minecraft for Windows 10 also has controller support, which is missing from the Java Edition. If you’re used to playing Minecraft on a console or mobile device, the transition will probably be easier with the Windows 10 version. However, I’m of the personal opinion all PC games are better with a mouse and keyboard, so I recommend learning the one, true way to play PC games.

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Since Java Edition is, well, in Java, it works across platforms, meaning you can play it on PC or a Mac. If you’re one of the Mac faithful and you want to spend hours digging holes in the virtual ground, the Java version is your best bet.

Where to Buy Minecraft for PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and More

Getting Minecraft for a console is much more straightforward than for PC, and it’s available on basically every device capable of playing games.

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One of the best parts of playing on console is cross-play. You can play Minecraft with all your friends, regardless of which console they’re playing it on. Even the Windows 10 version of Minecraft has crossplay support with console versions, and Sony even relented and opened it up so you can play with your PS4 friends. All you need is a Microsoft account and you’re off to the races.

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Buying it is as simple as visiting the storefront for your platform of choice, like the Nintendo eShop or the PlayStation store. You can also get download codes from the normal places like Amazon and GameStop.

Xbox Game Pass

If you’re a Game Pass or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you already have access to Minecraft on both PC and Xbox One. If you’re not a subscriber, you can get 3-months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $44.99. Game Pass Ultimate combines the benefits of Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass into one service.

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Where to Buy Minecraft for Mobile Devices

If you would rather just play Minecraft on the go (but not on Nintendo Switch), you can get it for your phone or tablet through the usual means: Apple App Store, Google Play, or Amazon.

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Seth Macy is IGN’s tech and commerce editor and just wants to be your friend. Find him on Twitter @sethmacy.
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