The first Minecraft 1.21 snapshot and preview are already here, tests redstone-powered Crafter

Screenshot of Minecraft Preview
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft Live 2023 aired this last weekend, and revealed the first new features for the Minecraft 1.21 update.
  • Now, just a few days later, Mojang Studios is already letting players test one of these features.
  • The Crafter features prominently in a new Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot and Minecraft Preview build, rolling out to players today.
  • It's an experimental feature right now, so the regular Minecraft 1.20 version is testing other bug fixes and improvements.

Minecraft Live 2023 is barely in the rearview mirror, but the early announcements we saw during the annual Minecraft event are already making their way into the hands of players. Mojang Studios is dropping its usual Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots and Minecraft preview builds today, but there's a brand-new experimental feature.

Starting today, Minecraft players can begin testing the very first feature from the major Minecraft 1.21 update, which is arriving in mid-2024 with a focus on adventure, challenge, and ease-of-use. One of the few features we know of now is the Crafter, a redstone-powered block that actually enables automated crafting in Minecraft, which is a major upheaval for the Minecraft ecosystem that has redstone engineers very excited. It has been requested for years, and now it's finally arriving.

The new features come in the form of Minecraft Preview and Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot 23w42a. Both early Minecraft updates are also testing general fixes and improvements for the current Minecraft 1.20 branch, but interested players can enable experimental features to get a very early look at the Crafter from Minecraft 1.21.

Players will now be able to automate mass crafting using redstone contraptions. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The Crafter was announced alongside Trial Chambers and the new Breeze hostile mob, and will be included in Minecraft 1.21. In its earliest form, it's crafted with redstone dust, iron ingots, a crafting table, and a dropper, and can be placed in any orientation. It features a unique, interactive UI to help players customize the Crafter to craft specific recipes, and interacts with hoppers, droppers, and comparators via redstone to build fully automated crafting systems.

The Crafter is fundamentally complicated thanks to both how items are placed in it and how it places items in other things, so Mojang Studios will likely be tweaking and modifying this system after collecting player feedback. It'll be interesting to see how the Crafter evolves over time, especially when other Minecraft 1.21 features begin to enter testing. Right now, though, Trial Chambers, Trial Spawners, and the Breeze are not present in these first preview builds.

What is Minecraft 1.21?

Minecraft 1.21 is the next major Minecraft content update, and will add a ton of new features and content to the legendary survival crafting game, which is both one of the best Xbox games and one of the best-selling video games of all time. Right now, Mojang Studios has only confirmed a handful of features, with Trial Chambers, Trial Spawners, copper bulbs, the Breeze, and the Crafter. Over time, however, Mojang Studios will absolutely be announcing new features ahead of release. The winner of the Minecraft Live Mob Vote will also be included in the update.

When does Minecraft 1.21 release?

Minecraft 1.21 still has a ton of development time ahead of it, and most of its features haven't even been revealed yet. However, Mojang Studios has given us a general release window for when to expect the update to land, feature complete and polished, in the hands of all players. The Minecraft 1.21 content update will arrive on all platforms sometime in mid-2024.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.