There are currently two major editions of Minecraft: Java and Bedrock. On the surface, these two versions of the game may seem basically the same, but there are quite a few differences that players should keep in mind when deciding which one to purchase. Minecraft was first released in 2009 for PC only, and this is how the game remained until 2011 when Minecraft: Pocket Edition was released for Android and iOS. This was the first step toward Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, whose code would ultimately be based on the mobile version. The original PC Minecraft was renamed to Minecraft: Java Edition in 2017, and Minecraft: Bedrock Edition would become the distinguishing moniker of the game released on other platforms.
The first big difference that players will notice between Minecraft: Java Edition and Bedrock is the cross-platform capabilities (or lack thereof, in the case of Java). Bedrock was specifically designed to be supported on every platform, which means that Xbox players, Switch Players, and iOS players can all explore a Minecraft world together. With Minecraft: Java Edition, players are confined to exploring with other Java users. For players that enjoy the PC experience, Java has the capability to enhance the game’s graphics with downloadable mods, but PC users with older builds may prefer Bedrock for its less demanding software.
While Minecraft: Java Edition might require a more advanced PC, it comes with access to thousands of free mods that players may download. Available mods range from practical upgrades like realistic graphics, to silly and strange, like the mod adding Phineas and Ferb’s Perry the platypus. Minecraft: Bedrock Edition players have a mod-like option in the form of Add-Ons, but the collections of Add-Ons is much smaller than that of Java’s mods and requires users to purchase Minecraft Coins with real-world money. While this might be a downer for some, for parents of youngsters that enjoy Minecraft, it can be a plus. All Bedrock game versions are connected to Xbox’s online services, making the online experiences more heavily moderated, with more parental controls available.
In Minecraft: Java Edition, players may download free skins found on the internet, or upload their own skins to change the appearance of their character in-game. For Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, players may create their own skins in-game by purchasing pieces or full outfits using Minecraft Coins. This major difference in skin creation may be the deciding factor for some players, as Bedrock greatly limits the number of skins that users have access to. This combined with the limited number of mods in Bedrock no doubt makes Java more appealing to highly creative players, as well as players that enjoy having a community around their game. Java gives users access to a wide range of public servers where players can make friends or just rampage on other user’s creations.
There are other small differences between the two editions that some users may never encounter or otherwise be aware of, such as the changes to structure, implementation of commands, and a smattering of Easter eggs that don’t appear in one Minecraft version or another. Overall, the differences Between Java and Bedrock are small, and pretty easily decided by the desired gameplay. For players that like a more customizable, community-based environment, Minecraft: Java Edition is the way to go. For those that like more streamlined, and accessible gameplay, Minecraft: Bedrock Edition is likely best.