As one of the most popular and bestselling games ever made, Minecraft has something that can appeal to just about everyone. The game can be a virtual Lego set for one person, a tool to create complex machines and computers for another, and anything and everything in between. The range of experiences the game offers allows people of all ages from anywhere in the world, regardless of how much gaming experience they have, to find something they enjoy.
As fantastic of a job as the game does to be such an easy experience to sink so much time into, the fact that there are two versions, Bedrock and Java, is the only real barrier that might put people off of diving in. These two editions of the game do have differences, so knowing what they are before spending your cash on one can save you some frustration later on. These are all the things you should consider when deciding between Minecraft Bedrock versus Java.
What are the versions, and why are there two?
Even in the world of gaming, a game selling two versions of itself simultaneously is an oddity. The only exception is when the game is on multiple platforms, which is true for Minecraft, but even then, the versions are usually made to be as close to identical as possible. In Minecraft‘s case, the split between Java and Bedrock is due to the original PC-only version of the game being built in the Java programming language. Without getting too technical about it, Java is a programming language that is compatible with any device that can run that language. But not all devices can run Java. These include mobile phones, like the iPhone, and all the major gaming consoles, like the Xbox, Switch, and PlayStation.
Obviously, leaving out these platforms would’ve prevented Minecraft from reaching the unbelievable sales and popularity it did, so the team at Mojang had to create an entirely new version for these platforms. That new version was called Bedrock. Bedrock, aside from the previously-mentioned platforms, is also available on Windows 10. So, unless you’re on a Mac or run Linux, PC players will have a choice between both versions.
There’s nothing wrong with playing Minecraft solo, but it is way more fun building, questing, and just hanging out in your custom worlds with friends. If you’re considering getting into Minecraft, odds are a friend recommended it to you so you could play together online. If so, make sure you know what version they’re on because the biggest drawback to this game being split is how cross-play functions.
Java players and Bedrock players can’t team up and play together, even if they are both on PCs. The two versions just can’t work together. If you have a friend or group that plays Java, then playing Java on PC is the only way to get together on the same server. Bedrock, on the other hand, is a bit more open. Not only is it available on far more platforms, but it doesn’t matter which of those platforms you and your friends are on. One could be on PC, another on a PlayStation 4, and a third on their mobile device, and you can all still play together. Another nice bonus is that your “save” can also be carried over between devices. If you mainly play on a console but go on a trip, just whip out your phone, and you can pick up right where you left off.
If playing with friends and family is the most important aspect to you, then picking whatever version they already have will be your deciding factor.
In-game add-ons and mods
Building, creating, and creativity are the basics of what make Minecraft what it is. The game itself is almost overflowing with tools you can use to make just about anything you set your mind to, but both versions offer even more ways to expand your game, although in very different ways.
Starting off with Java, this original version of the game is very open to mods. Because it has been around since the very first version of Minecraft, there are hundreds of mods already made, and more are being created all the time. With new textures, blocks, game modes, and even full campaigns to play through, the Java edition could quite literally offer endless content via mods. Your mileage will vary in terms of quality, of course, but you’ll never be wanting for quantity. Oh, and the best part? Nearly all mods are free to download and play.
Looking at the Bedrock version, mods are not supported in the same way. This version is far more locked down and difficult for players to mod on their own. That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. This version has a dedicated marketplace where add-ons are offered, including skin and texture packs, adventure maps, mini-games, and more. The selection is far, far smaller than what an entire community of players can make on Java, but it still offers new ways to play. Another major downside of the Bedrock edition’s marketplace is the cost. Some of these add-ons are free, but the majority will cost you “Minecoins” that you need to purchase through whatever device you’re playing on. Your purchases will follow you no matter which device you’re playing on, at least.
In the case of servers, Java once again benefits from being around for so long. There are just way more servers to pick from on this version than in Bedrock, again offering more variety and choice. People can make servers easily and with whatever mods they want on Java, while Bedrock has less variety and selection. Again, this will be a personal preference situation. If you only plan on playing with your friends or care more about the convenience of cross-play and cross-save that Bedrock offers, the amount of servers won’t really matter. On the other hand, if you get hooked and want to play with others in lovingly-crafted worlds or in gametypes that don’t even play like Minecraft anymore, Java is the only way to go.
This is a minor point. Obviously, the visuals in Minecraft are not the driving force behind the game, but there are some differences in the versions. Because the Bedrock edition was made to run on everything from a mobile phone to a PC, the graphics were set so that it would play exactly the same on all devices. You have some options, but for the most part, what you see is what you get when loading up Bedrock.
PC players who have rigs that can blow Minecraft out of the water can push the game far further. This applies to the normal game, as well as some of the more technically-demanding mods that improve things like lighting and textures or even add raytracing. This choice really only applies if you’re a PC player choosing between the two versions. If you’ve got the power for it, Java will hold up much better, but if you’re on just a basic laptop, then Bedrock is guaranteed to at least run well.
For all you parents out there who want to make sure your kids are playing safely online, parental controls might be your determining factor. If so, Bedrock is the only version to offer built-in options you can set for your child. If they’re on a console, like the PS5 or Xbox Series X, you can set the parental controls on the system itself, and there are additional options within the game as well. These options including allowing them to play with people on other consoles and creating or joining clubs.
The Java edition is completely open. There are no provided options to limit your child’s play in terms of who they can play with or what servers they can join.
Looking over all these differences, you now know everything you need to make an informed decision on which version of Minecraft is best for you. Join the phenomenon and start building!
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