Four big differences between Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta and Java Minecraft

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition ultimate guide
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition ultimate guide

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.

Multiplayer

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.

Mods

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.

Controller support

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.

Price

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.

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

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.

22 Comments
  • Redeemed Minecaft Church of Latter-day Converts
  • I like Windows 10 Edition ~ I love the controller support. It makes it so that I can lay in my bed with my controller and my PC on my TV enjoying some Minecraft.
  • Yeah, it is quite fun. We'll be playing it on Fridays around here and streaming it on Beam.
  • Awesome, I'll try to be there to watch it! :) *Cortana, remind me to watch Windows Central on Beam on Fridays*
  • Yes beam got mentioned by dan!!! Wish it made the streaming article last week as an option to stream on. If im free ill try to watch windows central.
  • Thanks to your silly stream on Friday, I played all weekend. (After never really spending much time in other than dinking around).
  • Windows 10 Edition has touch support. Java does not.
  • Good point, we'll add that.
  • To be honest, it does. Kinda... But it s*cks really hard :D We tried the Java version with my brother on his tablet, and it's barely unplayable with touch.
  • Performace is the biggest feature of Windows 10 Edition. Which means lower impact on cpu/gpu = larger battery life. 
  • Daniel, you can also do peer to peer over Xbox Live for free without having to use a Realm.
  • It might also be worth noting in the Price section that you get a free code for a copy of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta with your purchase of Java Minecraft.
  • So many differences. Both great games.
  • As someone else pointed out LAN games work without having to use realms. There is also XBL Achivements! :) Something the JAVA release doesnt have. Oh, and if you own the JAVA version you can get W10 Beta version for free! 
  • "Here's where you'll differences"
    I'm going to start using this as my catch phrase for when I explain technical things to people.
  • Thanks Cale!
  • Btw if you buy a Minecraft account, you will get free access to Minecraft windows 10 beta. After the beta program is over you will have to buy it separately. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Another difference is that Windows 10 Edition just runs so smooth with a lot of blocks, even on low end PCs.The Java version isn't coded all that efficiently. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The biggest drawback of Java Minecraft is Java.
  • False. The poor performance of Minecraft is due to poor programming, not because of Java.
  • Just some updated info on this topic. For Multiplayer, there are quite a few 3rd party server companies. While they may not be listed as "Minecraft Windows 10 Edition Servers", you can use XBOX or MCPE servers. As far as mods go, Mojang has stated that modding for Win 10 Edition is coming. They are just working out a way to make it easier so that anyone can mod even with little programming knowledge. The test will be if the current popular mods get ported over to Win 10 Edition. If that happens, then I can see a lot of players leaving the Java version behind. Skins and texture packs can be installed WITHOUT paying for them. For skins, you just simply click on the button to import them. For texture packs, you have to create a resource pack folder in your game folder to put them in and port your packs over (different file structure). In the 0.16 update, there will possibly be a way to import custom packs without the need to change the file structure. For controller support, there are more options and a new menu GUI coming in the 0.16 update which will allow lots more customizing. Lastly, there are many version exclusives that the Windows 10 Edition has or will be getting. So far, these are mostly seen as improvements over the Java version. Sadly, some things are completely broken like quasi-connectivity as they are java bugs that were never truly intended to exist.
  • Update for the Blog: - You can't change your keyboard setup in Win10 Edition. - You must pay for Texturepacks (about 3€...Thats ok for me). - No mods in Win10 Edition. / Some scripting has beeing added, but thats a joke (imho). - You can't change your Name for free as often as you want to (first time is free, next time you need to pay 20€~... WTF? MS?!). - The Win10 Edition performance kicks ass! Love that! - There is no easy way to generate custom worlds in the Win10 Edition, like it's in the java one. :/ - Did I said, that there is NO WAY to chance my keybinding / keyboard settings?!?! wtf guys.. This kills my mind so hard. Imagine a PC game on the market, where you can't change it.. It would be a store holder as hell.. -.-"   Greetings from Germany.