Minecraft Java and Bedrock edition launched on PC in 2022, bringing the two main versions of the game to a mutual launcher. But even with the two games living happily as one, it can be a bit confusing as to what the differences are – perhaps more so, in fact. If they’re together now, why do we even need two versions?
One of the most popular PC games of all time, Minecraft has come in a number of forms: Xbox edition, Nintendo Switch edition, Pocket edition, Legacy console edition, Java, Bedrock… it’s hard to keep up. Essentially, it comes down to console versions being merged over the years, and complications with Windows 1o.
First of all, Minecraft Java is the official name for the original version of the popular crafting game created by Mojang in 2009. It’s the version you buy via the Mojang website, although it’s also available via PC Game Pass now. Either way, it only runs on PC. Minecraft Bedrock is a new version of the game created by Microsoft in 2017 that simultaneously replaced and unified the console, mobile (formerly known as the Pocket Edition), and Windows 10 store versions of the game.
That means Bedrock is available across multiple platforms, and as PC players we’re spoilt for choice as we can choose to play either one of them. Thanks to the recently released Minecraft launcher, we can also manage both installs in one easy place. There are more differences than just what platforms the respective Minecraft versions run on, however, so let’s dig into this a little more.
Minecraft Bedrock and Java edition
In the Summer of 2022, a new Minecraft launcher was released on PC, giving you a central home from which to access all Minecraft games: Not just Java and Bedrock editions, but also Minecraft Dungeons and the upcoming Minecraft Legends. What’s more, Minecraft gifted many players who purchased one edition before the merge with the other.
Despite Mojang Studios prioritising parity between the two versions in recent updates, there are still some significant differences between the two, so if you’re new to the popular sandbox game and are wondering which you should play, or are just curious what you might be missing on your secondary version, we’re here to help.
Minecraft Java edition
Minecraft Java Edition is the original version of the game, first developed by Notch in 2009. As the original version of the game, Java Edition has what a lot of people consider to be superior features, and thus fans of Bedrock edition have been asking for complete parity for years.
Minecraft Bedrock edition
Bedrock edition, meanwhile, is slightly more complicated. A merge of all console editions and the Windows 10 version, Bedrock edition is surprisingly more widely played, as it can be played across consoles, mobile devices, and PC. If you play Minecraft on any portable gaming device, you’ll be playing Bedrock edition. Due to different teams working on the original games, and those different features, there will likely always be two versions of the game – or at least for the foreseeable future.
Minecraft Java vs Bedrock differences
So, now you can play both on PC with the Java and Bedrock launcher, what are the differences? And which should you play? It’s an important decision, as the two look and feel quite different and your worlds cannot be accessed across both.
Microsoft has created a handy document that goes into detail on what the differences are between the versions, but in summary the key differences between Minecraft Java and Bedrock are:
- World generation (though there is near parity in worlds from 1.18+)
- Redstone behaviour
- Minecraft console commands and cheats
- Minecraft mods and maps
- Minecraft skins customisation
- Minecraft multiplayer
- UI and HUD
- Hardcore and spectator modes aren’t available in Bedrock
- Back-end performance differences
- Ray-tracing can be experienced on Bedrock only
So which should you play?
The answer to this question mainly depends on you. Personally, one of the most important differences is the user interface… Perhaps try both to see which feels nicest to you.
Then there’s multiplayer. Minecraft is definitely one of the best co-op games, thanks to the variety of gameplay options, maps, and modes available to you. However, as we discuss below, you must be on the same version as your friends, so this could make or break your decision.
If you mostly play single-player, then perhaps mods are important to you. The way the different Minecraft versions view mods is very important. Java edition has a long and storied history of creative and expansive Minecraft maps, mods, and texture packs, all of which you can download for free. Make sure you trust the source when downloading mods to Java edition though, or install Minecraft Forge.
Bedrock edition still allows for mods and texture packs, but these are bought or downloaded from the Minecraft Marketplace. Some consider this far better, as they are all made by trusted Minecraft creators and teams, and purchasing them is a safe way to support the community. This also goes for skin customisation, as skin packs can be bought on the Marketplace for Bedrock edition, while unique skin designs can be downloaded online – or you can even make your own – for Java edition, thanks to its use of the .png format.
Minecraft Java or Bedrock multiplayer
As mentioned above, multiplayer is handled differently between the two versions of Minecraft. The most important thing you need to know if you’re planning to mine and craft with friends is that you and anyone you want to play Minecraft with must be using the same version to play together. This means that Java players can only play with other Java players, and the same goes for Bedrock.
In order to play with friends on Java Edition, you’ll need to be part of a server. There is a long list of massively multiplayer Minecraft servers which you can apply to be part of, or you can host your own, whether you use Minecraft hosting or Minecraft Realms in the hopes of becoming the next Hypixel, or simply as a playground for you and a few mates.
For Bedrock edition, multiplayer servers – such as Mineplex and Cubecraft – can be accessed from the main menu as standard, no downloads necessary. Simply go to the servers tab before launching your game. To play with friends, you’ll need Minecraft Realms, which (like Java hosting) one person will have to pay for, and others can then join for free. Again, though there are Realms plans for both Java and Bedrock, they are separate. PC Games Pass PC Games Pass $9.99 $1 Subscribe Network N earns commission from qualifying purchases via Microsoft and other programs.
Hopefully that clears things up for you, and helps you choose whether to play Minecraft Java or Bedrock edition – or both! Once you’ve decided and are ready to start your new world, check out our favourite Minecraft seeds – remember, there is now near-parity between the two versions with seeds from 1.18 and up. Whichever seed or Minecraft biomes you end up in, get some inspiration from the best Minecraft builds, sharpen that pickaxe, and get mining!