Minecraft versions

Minecraft logo xbox logo cropped-Pi-Edition-header1 MinecraftEdulogo cropped-Pi-Edition-header1
PC Version Console version Tablet/Phone version Educational Version Raspberry Pi version

Minecraft comes in several different versions and it is important to know about the differences between each version.

Minecraft all started with the official release of the PC version back on November 18 2011. The programme had spent over 2 years in development and pre-release, thus generating a huge following with each beta update as more and more people started crafting. The reason for the games success actually comes from the legal document called the End User Licence Agreement (EULA). In this agreement, Mojang, the company behind the development, allowed the end user to commercialise their work using Minecraft. Or in other words, if people wanted to run workshops, develop add-ons or produce videos on how to play the game, they could. This meant that Minecraft was an instant YouTube hit and created superstars like StampyLongHead and iBallisticSquid. These YouTubers play Minecraft, record their games and offer ideas, tips, building skills and stories using Minecraft.  Stampy has nearly 5 million subscribers and iBallisticSquid has over 2 million subscribers. The numbers of views for each video run into the millions. They are very popular!

Within 3 years Minecraft PC sales had reached over 17 million sales and became the best-selling PC game of all time.

Following on from the development of the PC version, came the release of the PocketEdition on Sony’s hand held device, the Xperia Play. The Pocket Edition is a cut down version of the PC version with limited connectivity and an adapted crafting technique. Making the game available to mobile users was the next step in the success of Minecraft. Dedicated players could continue to build and create on the go and new users could get into Minecraft at a very low pricing entry point. Making Minecraft affordable for the huge platform of Android and iOS users was a stroke of genius.

Next came the Minecraft Pi Edition which is a free download of Minecraft for the RaspberryPi. Again, this was a clever move both because it allowed people to download Minecraft for free, but it linked the ICT curriculum to Minecraft. ICT teachers around the globe had already seen the huge uptake of pupils creating their own computer using a cheap RaspberryPi and a few accessories. The Raspberry Pi edition of Minecraft linked an already passionate Minecraft user-base with computing skills and thus the first real relationship was built between the curriculum and Minecraft.

The last of the platforms is not strictly a platform at all, but a customisation of the PC version called MinecraftEDU. This was developed throughout early 2011 as a group of teachers in Finland were experimenting with teaching using Minecraft PC version in their classrooms. They quickly realised the potential of the game for education and used the freedom given in the EULA to create a modified version that uses FORGE, a part of the developer community. MinecraftEDU introduced a level of control to the PC game that helped manage groups of people in the game in a classroom environment. For example, you can set an assignment that all the players will get or you can freeze all of players to prevent them for playing whilst you talk to them in the classroom or computer lab. MinecraftEDU has a large developer community itself and there are huge maps, worlds and lesson-plans that are all avaliable to download.

So what is the difference?

Well, the PC version is the full version of Minecraft. Every tool, material and block is available to use in the game. It also is the only game that (currently) allows you to connect to online servers for FULL multiplayer gameplay. The other editions do allow a degree of multiplayer gaming, either through Realms, LAN (local area network) games or with a paid for Microsoft LIVE! account on the XBox. Playstation 3 & 4 versions use the free Playstation network to play.

The methods used to control Steve (your character) in Minecraft differs as each version uses different hardware; Mouse and Keyboard; On-screen joystick on tablets and a console controller for the console versions. These different input methods also mean that the game is a different experience on each of the different platforms.

Crafting for example uses a crafting table and a 3×3 grid to create recipes on the table to make new objects, blocks and artefacts. On the PC version, you have to work out (or look up) all of the different combinations that go to make up your crafted item. However on Minecraft PE, all of the recipes are visible so it is much easier.

The downside of this is that the PE edition cannot craft as many of the different items as the PC version…

So there are many differences between the platforms and you need to explore the links provided in this page to learn about them.

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