Posted by: kurtsh | April 26, 2020

INFO: The Difference between Minecraft Java Edition, Windows 10 Edition, and Education Edition

imageRecently, with the onset of “remote learning” from many schools, I’ve encountered a whole lotta parents that are suddenly discovering the complexities behind the world of Minecraft.

For those not aware, let’s start from the beginning.  There are THREE different editions of Minecraft that you might download & install.

The 3 Minecrafts editions are:

  • One built in Java called:
    Minecraft: Java Edition
    It uses an online multiplayer environment called:
    Minecraft Realms for Java
  • One built for Xbox Live called:
    Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition
    It uses an online multiplayer environment called:
    Minecraft Realms PLUS
  • One built for schools called:
    Minecraft: Education Edition
    It has it’s own built in “Minecraft: Education Edition online multiplayer environment that comes with the installation – nothing needs to be done to use it.

It has to do with the history of Minecraft, it’s acquisition by Microsoft, & the player’s evolving needs.

In the beginning, there was only “Minecraft”.  It was a Java-based application and it was distinguished by the fact that:

  • People could code their own custom modifications or “mods” for it such as their own objects, blocks, etc.
  • It ran on any platform that supported Java Runtimes.  Including Linux, Blackberries, etc.
  • It required setting up your own Minecraft server infrastructure to play online with friends.

It was later renamed to:

A safer Minecraft for Online Play   
When Microsoft acquired Minecraft, an effort was made to make safe & easy to create “online multiplayer" environments.  To do this, you had to do a few things:

  • set standards & limits on what people could do in the game
  • create a singular means of logging into an account

The choice was made to:

  • cut out “mods” and instead host a marketplace of “vetted” and “safe” mods for people to download or buy
  • use Xbox Live/Microsoft Accounts as a singular means for logging in to Minecraft

The end result were 4 releases of Minecraft that used Xbox Live/Microsoft Accounts to login & disallowed mods outside of the marketplace:

A Minecraft for School
Schools made heavy use of Minecraft but it was really hacked together to enable school curriculum & very unwieldy to manage, reset, assign to students, etc., with some teachers purchasing 20 licenses to install on PCs/Macs.

And since schools don’t have Xbox Live accounts – this made online play difficult without setting up complicated servers.  A decision was made at Minecraft/Microsoft to provide any school that has Office 365 Education deployed, low/no cost access to Minecraft for teachers and student and incorporate collaborative online environments at no extra cost.

This again required changes to Minecraft:

  • a means for logging into school accounts for Minecraft would leverage the students Office 365 account
  • the online environment needed to be built in, secured to just students & teachers

The result was the creation of a 3rd release of Minecraft called:


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