When my son first started playing Minecraft, I was aware of only one method of doing so: a paid app on his Kindle Fire. Turns out, there are many versions and platforms for Minecraft. Our students typically understand these much better than their parents, and we’ll typically hear things like “you didn’t get me the right version” or “this isn’t the right Minecraft.”
Parents: this post is for you. I’m going to try and simplify the best that I can the many versions and iterations of Minecraft. And I’m going to try and do so without my son’s help.
So Many Minecrafts!
First off, you will have to pay for Minecraft — no matter which version or platform. There is no free version of Minecraft. Some apps have free versions but Minecraft isn’t one of them.
For consoles (Playstation 3/4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U) you can simply purchase Minecraft for that platform at the store. There are some other adventure-type versions of Minecraft for these platforms (Minecraft Story Mode), but they don’t allow the blank canvas of creativity found in traditional Minecraft. And, as your kids would probably say, “that’s not the right version”.
For Chromebooks you’re mostly out of luck. There aren’t any straightforward ways of playing Minecraft on a Chromebook.
For Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire devices buy the app from the Play Store, Apple Store, or Amazon Store. As of 6/20/17, the app costs $6.99. This version is technically called Minecraft PE (Pocket Edition). It does have limitations versus the other versions of Minecraft but is a great place to start for most kids.
If you have a Mac, you can go to mojang.net and download/buy by clicking the Download button. You will have to create an account with Mojang to manage your download. The current price on this version is $26.95. The download and install is fairly simple. Since Mojang (the developer of Minecraft) is located in Sweden, you might have issues with credit card purchases online. Or, you can elect to buy one of the Minecraft gift cards at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. You’ll notice that they cost $26.95 and have a code that you can easily redeem on the site after creating your account.
Windows (especially Windows 10) is the trickiest. You definitely want the Java version of Minecraft for Windows. This is the version that allows your kids to create modifications using the Java programming language. The Windows 10 app (non-Java version) is not quite as robust as the Java version. And, as we found out at our last Minecraft party, the Windows 10 app doesn’t work when connecting to our servers.
Our recommendation for those starting out is to buy the app for a tablet or console. This is simply because the controls are much easier to manage for younger kids. Once they’ve mastered that version, download the Java version for PC or Mac. Also, buy a mouse to make this one easier to use. This version gives the most flexibility and allows them to modify Minecraft via programming the most. (It’s also the version that we use in all of our classes & parties)
Hope this helps. Feel free to reach out to us on the Contact Page if you have any questions. Believe me; as parents, we’ve been there as well 🙂