You can play Minecraft just about anywhere – PCs, consoles, and mobile devices all run Mojang’s seemingly immortal game. But the truth is that despite being on a dozen platforms, there are really only two versions: Bedrock and Java. If you’re looking to get into Minecraft, you’ll see people talking about these two versions, but what’s the difference and which is better?
Java vs Bedrock: why are there two versions?
When Minecraft first started to become popular in the early 2010s, there was only one platform and one version. Minecraft was built in Java and played on Windows and Linux. Bedrock, meanwhile, started life as the Minecraft Pocket Edition, a version intended to work well on mobile devices, but which would eventually form the basis of Bedrock Edition.
Bedrock Edition exists for several reasons. The first is that Java has tons of security vulnerabilities; a major vulnerability affected the Java edition of Minecraft as recently as December 2021, in which the Log4j vulnerability allowed users to run code on a Minecraft server simply by entering text into the game’s chat box. you put your game on every console out there, you probably don’t want to accidentally make them all hackable – as much as console modders would like that.
Java is also not very well optimized for 3D games like Minecraft, and would not have run well on the first series of consoles it was released on, which includes Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Bedrock is a rebuild full version of Minecraft that both takes care of this security issue and allows Microsoft to better optimize the game for modern game console hardware.
Java vs. Bedrock: What’s the Difference?
There are a number of differences between the Java and Bedrock editions of Minecraft, including small mechanical differences – Minecraft on Java has more combat moves, and some mobs and items have different variables – although Microsoft has made an effort over the past few years to ensure that the Bedrock and Java Editions of Minecraft are moving ever closer together, rather than further apart.
Which version you want will depend a bit on your needs.
If you’re playing on a console or mobile device – an Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, or Android/iOS device, you’ll be playing Bedrock. If you’re one of the proud few playing on a Linux device, you’re going to be playing Java. So we’ll assume these gamers already know what they want and focus on the rest of us playing on Windows 10 and 11 PCs.
If you want to play with friends on other platforms, go for Bedrock and Realms.
So, all of your friends are playing Minecraft, but some of them are playing on PC, some are playing on Xbox, and some are even playing on their mobile devices. There are several options for crossplay. With Minecraft Bedrock you can connect with them whenever you want for single session multiplayer play – you can join your friend’s game, but only while they’re also playing – stored on the user’s device host. If you’re using an official Minecraft Realm, however, you can have an always-on, always-accessible server provided by Microsoft for a low monthly fee. Anyone on Bedrock Edition you invite – including players on Xbox One, Series S and Series X, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Android, iOS, and Windows 10 and 11 – can join a kingdom and build anytime they want. want.
By the way, if you plan to build your own server or pay another provider with more flexible server options, you’ll have to stick with PC or try your luck with risky hacks to make other versions work with servers , as only Windows devices support connecting to custom servers in Bedrock Edition.
If you want to go a long way with modding, play Java Edition.
You’re not one to leave a game as it was installed. You want to own it. That doesn’t just mean skins and texture packs, but total overhaul mods that introduce new gameplay mechanics, shader packs, and more. If that sounds like you, you’ll want to play Java Edition.
If you have an older computer, play Bedrock Edition.
The older your computer, the more leeway you’ll need to give it with games. Minecraft is anything but new, but Bedrock tends to perform better on older systems due to generally poor Java optimization. Sure, Java will most likely work fine, but Bedrock Edition will give you a bit more leeway. Generally speaking, if you want the most stable performance, the general consensus of the Minecraft community seems to be that Bedrock offers a smoother and more stable experience on Java, whether your PC is considered a potato or a tech peak.
If you want officially supported ray tracing, play Bedrock Edition.
If you want the most advanced graphical effects and prefer them to be of the officially supported variety, Minecraft Bedrock Edition offers full integration with Nvidia’s ray tracing and scaling features. Ray tracing lets you enjoy all sorts of lighting effects that completely change the look of the game, while Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling helps keep the game smooth when playing at a lower resolution and then using AI/deep learning to make the game look like it’s running at that native resolution. Minecraft Java Edition offers shader packs and other mods that can change how the game looks, but Bedrock is where the official support is. Right now you need to be running any Nvidia RTX card – the newer the better.
If you want to see the experimental builds first, play Java Edition.
Although Bedrock Edition is the primary platform for Microsoft and Mojang, Java Edition is still under development, and most likely due to its smaller player base (remember, PC only) which is generally more tolerant of changes, Java will often be coming and experimental features first. If you want to see all of this new stuff before it hits the official Bedrock development branch, check out the Java edition.
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