Best Minecraft Platform?
January 8, 2019 2:46 PM   Subscribe

My kid has expressed an interest in Minecraft. Although I am a (casual) gamer, I never got into Minecraft. One of the big advantages of Minecraft is the wide range of platforms it's playable on. On the other hand, this is giving me a paralysis of choice. Which is the best platform to play it on (and why)?

The options include a ~4 year old iPad, a PS4, PS3, a newish Chromebook, a Mac laptop and a Mac desktop. All other things being equal, it would be better if it wasn't on the Chromebook or Macs, but we'll make due if the implementation is way better on that platform.
posted by Betelgeuse to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My kid started playing on the PS4 at age 5. It plays well on there, you can play split-screen co-op (so you're playing together in the same level). The only issue was the PS4 controller was a little large for him at first (I thought about getting one of the small Hori controllers but he's used to it now he's a bit older/his hands are bigger).

I can't speak for any of the other platforms.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:54 PM on January 8

My son prefers it on our Xbox 360 to having to play on the iPad so I would say iPads are probably the worst implementation. I do know that some people say a desktop is the best way to play. I’d vote for PS4 since you’d prefer it not be on computer.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:14 PM on January 8

We have Minecraft on PC, Xbox 360, PS4, and Switch. I have five kids.

By far, they play the most on PS4.

There is no real evidence that this version is "better" than the others, but the four controllers are easily found and charged, and it is hooked up to the big TV, so those might be the main reasons.

I thought my younger ones would enjoy the Nintendo content in the Switch version, but it didn't hold their interest and they soon went back to the PS4 version. (They were 5, 6, and 9 when the Switch came out.)
posted by tacodave at 3:25 PM on January 8

My girls hated it on ps3. They usually play on standard windows machines and yet will happily play on their $49 kindle fire tablets all day. So i probably vote for the tablet...
posted by chasles at 4:05 PM on January 8

There are really only 2 versions of Minecraft at this point. The Java Version, which runs on Mac and PC, and the Bedrock Version, which runs on all the consoles, mobile, and as a Windows 10 App.

My Minecrafter goes back and forth. There are more cool (free) mods and maps for the Java Version, but the Bedrock Version is easier to pick up and play, and the console versions support local multiplayer, which the Java Version does not.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 4:09 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]

I have played on an iPad, an Xbox360 and a PS4 and I prefer the PS4.
posted by Saminal at 4:41 PM on January 8

I have played on Windows, Mac and my Android phone. I think the Android version will probably be pretty accessible to any tablet-using kids to get started. It's all just pushing your finger around on the screen.

Personally, I prefer playing the Java (W/Mac) version but I think that's because I am more used to using a keyboard to navigate in a game. If your kids are more console-native, I'd go with the Android/iOS version on a tablet.

Bonus consideration: It's a lot easier to install skins/mods/texture packs on the Java version. I also find it easier to find live servers on the Java version, but you might not want your kids playing with strangers just yet.
posted by headspace at 5:38 PM on January 8

We have it on the iMac, iPad and WiiU. My son prefers it on the iMac (for various servers and mods and also because I installed bootcamp and there’s some mod stuff he can only do on the windows side) while my daughter, who has no interest in playing with friends online or mods, prefers the iPad.
posted by Cuke at 7:18 PM on January 8

We have it on ipad, Mac, & PS4. Both my kids seem to prefer it on ipad.
posted by belladonna at 5:04 AM on January 9

It depends a bit on your child's age and technological comfort level. My kids started playing Minecraft on iPads when they were 5-6ish, and it was great for them because it was all direct manipulation -- they didn't have to puzzle out how to use a keyboard/mouse, they could just touch what they wanted. More recently they have started playing on a Mac (primarily my daughter, who is 7), but they still don't spend a huge amount of time using a keyboard/trackpad/mouse, so their comfort level is lower than someone who grew up with that as their only technology. Their default platform is still the iPad, though. We don't have a console, so I can't speak to that scenario.
posted by misterbrandt at 8:10 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

The only issue with the playstation versions is that it didn't get the Better Together update, but that is mostly Minecraft's DLC/online stuff. If your kid wants to play with friends, be mindful of what platform they are on. Sony is a giant stick in the mud about cross platform capabilities.
posted by zabuni at 12:07 PM on January 9

Java (on a mac or PC) is for sure the best, and if your kids are interested because they watch YouTubers play, that's the version those folks almost always play (except, notably for kids, Stampy, who plays on xbox).

Bedrock (mobile version) is also really fun though and a low-key way to check out the game.
posted by lampoil at 5:21 PM on January 9

I play on the Mac with my two ten year olds. I installed a Minecraft server on my iMac using homebrew, and all three of us have a multiplayer game on the server using the iMac and two laptops. They enjoy this a lot more than the single player version on the Mac or iPad.
posted by FungusCassetteBicker at 7:15 PM on January 9

They enjoy this a lot more than the single player version on the Mac or iPad.
Just a point of information: iPad is not limited to single player - you can join worlds of other iPad players on your local network, or you can join a Realms world. Not sure about on a Mac.
posted by misterbrandt at 10:31 AM on January 10

Thanks for all the suggestions. I realized after I asked the question that my real question was something like, "Tell me the PS4 version isn't horrible." So, that's what I got him. Extra thanks to EndsOfInvention for recommending the Hori controller; that will be great.

His birthday is tomorrow! Fingers crossed that he still likes the game!
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:01 AM on February 9

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