Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta is essentially a port of the Pocket Edition, released for Windows phones way back in 2014. Don't let the word "pocket" fool you — most of the same features found in the original Java version of Minecraft are here, and complete parity across all versions of Minecraft will apparently arrive one day.
A planned fall update to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta, known as the Boss Update, will bring slash commands, boss battles, new blocks, and ocean monuments to players. Despite the upcoming update, there are still four big differences between Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta and the original Minecraft that started it all. Here's where you'll find differences.
Java Minecraft has a fantastic community inhabiting thousands of servers. Most of these servers are either hosted locally or from third-party services, but there are realms run by Mojang. There are a ton of plugins and mods available for the servers; you could join a hundred servers and not experience the same game style.
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta cannot be played with people using Java Minecraft, but that's OK — sign into your Xbox Live account and play against up to 10 friends in a realm, which is basically just a secure server hosted by Mojang. There is also the option to create a server and have up to five players join over LAN.
Realms do have a subscription fee that must be purchased by one person, but everyone else gets to join and play for free. There is no third-party server support available for Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.
Perhaps the best part of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta is that you can play against your friends who have the Pocket Edition or Gear VR Edition of Minecraft. More choices, more friends, more fun.
Modding is a huge part of Java Minecraft, and is really what extends the game's life far beyond most other games. Mods range from prettying up the graphics to adding more tools to inventing new game modes — want to compete in a Hunger Games competition? No problem. Want to make everything look super realistic? Sure, if your PC can handle it.
Mods allow users to inject their creativity into the game further than just placing blocks. The best part is that they can then share it for others to enjoy.
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta unfortunately does not have any mod support. There are, however, a few texture packs that essentially change the look of your game, and a few skin packs that change the look of NPCs and your character. These packs do cost money, anywhere from about $2 to $3.50 for a full unlock, whereas the majority of Java Minecraft mods are available for free.
One of the most frustrating parts of Java Minecraft was always its lousy controller support. Sure, you could watch a ten minute video and download a mod or two to get one working, but nothing beats the native Xbox 360 and Xbox One controller support found in Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.
All you have to do is connect your Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller to your PC, and it should be good to go. The controller button layout can be completely configured in the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta menu, but the default controls seem to work great.
Native controller support is a big deal for a lot of Minecraft players. Gaming sessions can go longer than any of us want to admit, and many people find a controller in-hand to be way more comfortable than a keyboard and mouse.
Touchscreen users out there will also love the ability to use no controller other than your hands. Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta did a great job configuring touch controls, perfect for times when you don't have an Xbox controller handy or if you simply love playing on a touchscreen.
Java Minecraft starts at about $28, and Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will run you about $10 while it's still in beta stage. That's quite a deal, especially since parity is planned for all versions.
Keep in mind if you want both version of the game, you can buy Java Minecraft and use a free redeem code to unlock Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.