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Which Minecraft edition is right for me?

Minecraft is the PC hit sandbox title built from the ground up by indie developers at Mojang. In 2014, the studio was acquired by Microsoft. Since then, the game has added plenty of editions and versions for the gamer to divulge in. Minecraft expanded its reach from PC gamers to targeting a broader audience between young to the young only at heart. From your home to your phone to your child’s school to virtual reality and even beyond, Minecraft has become almost hard to avoid in any app store and retailer.

While we all love choices, an oversaturation of Minecraft editions begets the ultimate question: What version is right for me?

Mostly, it boils down to which gaming device you have the most time with. If you’re always busy at home but need something to do on your mobile phone, then Pocket Edition would be perfect for you. On the contrary, you people that are so busy that you never have time to sit down until you’re on the desktop, then you might want to consider the PC or Windows 10 editions. And, of course, those like me that have way too much time on your hands, deciding on which device to purchase Minecraft can become quite the conundrum that can only come by weighing out a meticulous list of pros and cons. But who has time for that? So I did it for you!

Minecraft PC Edition (a.k.a. “the Java version”)


This is the fully fledged, born from the original, no holds barred version of Minecraft. The Java edition is the most open sourced option for users that prefer desktop gaming. Many of its players have been around since Alpha/Beta through the good times and the bad. I.e. the phases where each update wiped our entire save files and community server maps. Good times – not!

But even as we cursed the powers-that-be for their developing flaws, Minecraft for PC has built the largest community around it. Early adopters bought into the early access for half of the asking price for the full version, and they aren’t shy to remind the newer players that they’ve been here from the start. Web sites with thousands of users built around creating mods, developing resources, building up servers, creating mini-games, and congregating to make Minecraft unique.

Pros Cons
– Established Community
– Third-Party Mods
– Third Party Resources/Textures/Skins
– Third-Party Servers
– Feature Complete
– Access to pre-release Snapshots
– Available to Windows, Linux, and Mac
– Overwhelming for New Players
– Potential Threats from Third-Party Resources/Mods
– No Parental Control
– Access to pre-release Snapshots

Minecraft PC Edition is available solely through Minecraft.net or retailer gift cards, typically running for 26.95.

Minecraft for Windows 10 (a.k.a. “the Microsoft version”)

Practically everyone knew that when Microsoft bought Mojang, there were changes sure to come. Undoubtedly, many were concerned that Minecraft would be monetized, focused as a Windows/Xbox game, and changed beyond repair. We were almost right but in a good way, mostly. As grateful that we were that Microsoft let Mojang stay focused on developing more for the Java version of Minecraft, we were also excited to see its growth into the Windows Store.

The original Minecraft wasn’t meant to be converted from Java. So when Windows 10 Edition first launched publicly, this version was lacking a lot of features and content. Nonetheless, the audience reach began to pour in new players that preferred the smoother gameplay and graphics. Not to mention the introduction of Minecraft Realms, the controlled gaming server for friends and family hosted by Mojang. But more on that later.

Pros Cons
– Better Performance and Graphics
– Touchscreen Support
– Controller Support
– Xbox Live / Microsoft Account Log-In
– Minecraft Realms
– Interacts with Pocket Edition
– In-App Purchase for Official DLC/Textures/Resources
– Easier Parental Control
– Multiplayer is Invite-Only
– Cannot Connect to Third-Party Servers
– Cannot Use Third-Party Resources/Mods/Textures
– Only Available on Windows (obviously)
– Multiplayer is Invite-Only

It wasn’t until recently did Minecraft Windows 10 Edition came out of Beta with the Ender Update 1.0, ultimately bringing it the closest in features to the original Java version. People that own its predecessor can still claim their Windows 10 Edition for free through their Mojang account. Otherwise, it is on sale for $9.99 USD on the Windows Store.

Minecraft Pocket Edition (a.k.a. “the Mobile version”)

Minecraft Pocket Edition and Windows 10 Beta Boss Update

Ah, what an easy life we live in to carry our favorite addiction in our pocket! Minecraft for mobile phones was probably one of the smartest moves that Mojang could make. Particularly, it built the potential to pique the interest of casual adult gamers hunting for their next time waster.

This compact game has been brought to all the major mobile platforms including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. (Although the latter will be discontinuing support soon for Windows 8.x and 10 Mobile.) But just because it fits in the palm of your hand doesn’t mean that it’s only a single player game. On the contrary, Minecraft Pocket Edition added the Minecraft Realms feature from Windows 10, letting users sign in with Xbox Live to join multiplayer servers. If they’re invited, that is.

Pros Cons
– Touchscreen Support
– Xbox Live Log-In
– Minecraft Realms
– Interacts with Windows 10 Edition
– In-App Purchase for Official DLC/Textures/Resources
– Easier Parental Control
– Multiplayer is Invite-Only
– Cannot Connect to Third-Party Servers
– Cannot Use Third-Party Resources/Mods/Textures
– Only Available on Mobile Devices (obviously)
– Multiplayer is Invite-Only

Minecraft Pocket Edition is essentially the Windows 10 Edition on your phone, just more compact. The two update in unison and can be played together across Minecraft Realms. What truly sets MCPE apart is its support the Samsung Gear VR headset, letting the player step into the world of Minecraft in virtual reality.

It is available from Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store, and Windows Mobile app store for the small price of $6.99 to match its size.

Minecraft Console Edition (a.k.a. “the Couch version”)

Every gamer has their preferences, and none are so vocal about it as those that participate in the PC vs Console war. So naturally, Minecraft needed to pander to both sides of the trenches for maximum exposure. And I do mean maximum! Minecraft is available for almost any console that can support it. PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One all have Minecraft available either by disc or digitally.

Like Windows 10 and Pocket Edition, these console versions are very different than their Java ancestor. Each supports its game system through controllers, gamepads, digital e-stores, and exclusive gaming network sign-ins. Because of their large differences, Mojang and Microsoft contracted 4J Studios to be responsible for the game’s various console editions. This also means that all console versions are updated together and maintain a steady feature parity.

Pros Cons
– Console Exclusive Tutorial/Achievements/Leaderboards
– Bluetooth Controller Support (some)
– Xbox Live/Nintendo Network/ PSN Log-In
– Official DLC/Textures/Resources
– Local Multiplayer / Split Screen
– Multiplayer is Invite-Only
– Smaller Worlds (not infinite)
– Officially Curated Mini-Games
Cannot Connect to Third-Party Servers
– Cannot Use Third-Party Resources/Mods/Textures
– Multiplayer is Limited to Specific Console
– Multiplayer is Invite-Only (only available if online)

Generally, all Minecraft Console Editions have the retail price of $19.99 USD. However, many include bundles with DLCs and consoles that can increase the value depending on the retailer.

And because there weren’t enough ways to play already, the most recent addition to the Minecraft home theater is the Apple TV Edition. While it isn’t technically a console, the Apple TV Edition is easy to lump in the pile with the other couch entertainment complete with Bluetooth controller support. This version is solely for the Apple TV streaming device that displays to your television.

Because it is maintained a Pocket Edition adaptation by Mojang instead of 4J Studios, it updates separately than console versions. Minecraft Apple TV Edition currently lacks multiplayer features, an issue Mojang has stated they wish to correct in the future.

It can be purchased from the app store for the console price of $19.99, including seven DLC packs to get you started.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to play Minecraft. You don’t have to choose just one edition, however, if you don’t want to. Unfortunately, many of the versions don’t work together except the Pocket Edition and Minecraft Windows 10 Edition. So unless you want to pay a new price, sometimes with different features available, it’s always worth weighing your options in advance before making the purchase.

Already chose an edition or two? Check out How To Get Started in Minecraft!

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Which Minecraft edition do you play and why?