I have played Minecraft on and off since 2010, back when Minecraft was in Alpha and brother convinced me to buy it and play it. Back then, there was no hunger meter, there were no beds and there were far, far fewer types of biomes and hostile mobs, while friendly mobs spawned all the time, mainly because you couldn’t breed them. Breeding didn’t come out until the far end of Minecraft Beta and, when I started playing, Skeletons finally actually held Bows to fire arrows with and the Nether had literally just been released.
And when I say the Nether had just been released, I mean a biome with some lava and nothing but Netherrack, Soul Sand and occasional lumps of Glowstone had been released. The only real reason to go to the Nether was because it was new and you needed any of the four blocks that existed there.
All this time though, I played on what I thought was bog-standard Minecraft. Sure, other versions of Minecraft came out over the years; in fact, so many versions of Minecraft existed that there was a version for AppleTV. Which apparently was a thing. What I have been playing on this entire time is Minecraft Java Edition, the original version of Minecraft that the InfDev, Alpha and Beta forms of Minecraft all grew out from. It wasn’t until the Better Together update that Minecraft’s different platforms were all optimized and, well, brought together. We ended up with two main versions of Minecraft: Java Edition and Bedrock Edition, with Bedrock edition being considered the “main” version that works on different platforms, while Java Edition is PC only.
Playing on Java Edition, there’s a lot of things I take for granted though. For example, I can use things like Optifine and Forge with relative ease, and I can upload my own custom skins. I’ve been playing Pixelmon, a Minecraft version of Pokemon, for about a year now (and managed 100% completion on a multiplayer server) and I’ve also played things like Tekkit, which are custom-built mod packs with huge amounts of things in them, sometimes completely changing how you play Minecraft. I can install mods and texture packs however I want and whenever I want, without paying a thing, although you can optionally support resource and mod pack developers via Patreon or whatever.
The Bedrock Edition… doesn’t have all of this. Sure, you can upload skins on the Windows 10 version of Bedrock Edition, but you can’t upload a skin on a console version. There are however a huge number of skins, resource packs, custom worlds and “mashups” available… for a price.
You see, Bedrock Edition has a Minecraft Marketplace, where you can buy all these things using Minecraft Coins. The pricing is as follows:
- 320 Minecraft Coins for $1.99 USD
- 1020 Minecraft Coins for $5.99 USD
- 1720 Minecraft Coins for $9.99 USD
- 1980 Minecraft Coins for $10.99 USD
- 3500 Minecraft Coins for $19.99 USD
- 8800 Minecraft Coins for $49.99 USD
You could previously buy things from the Marketplace directly with with real money but, to avoid having to do certification on every single item (the same way updates for all games have to be certified by each specific console, e.g. PS4 – this is also why Warframe updates are significantly behind on consoles compared to PC), having an in-game currency means you can avoid all of that.
But what surprised me isn’t the fact that this Minecraft Marketplace exists, but how… pricey things can get. I should point out that Bedrock Edition is both the cheapest and most expensive form of Minecraft, being about $7 on mobile devices, $30 on Windows 10 and Nintendo Switch and $50 for the Windows 10 ‘deluxe’ edition. And I completely underestimated just how prevalent this Marketplace is! Sure, if you’re playing on PC, you can always upload your own skin, but any fancy skins on console versions are either free skins supplied by Microsoft/Minecraft/whatever or are paid for.
There’s also a Character Creator available, which allows you to customize your character and buy cosmetics for them, rather than using a predetermined skin that you’ve uploaded or bought. But some of these items are pretty darn pricey as well, as mentioned in a video by AntVenom. Which is worrying because these items for your characters are LITERALLY just pixels.
(As a quick aside, I used to watch AntVenom in, like 2011, stopped for years and only recently rediscovered him when I stumbled across a breaking Minecraft series.)
I dunno. This is all pretty normal in this age of gaming. Microtransactions are just a part of most gaming monetization systems these days, as both companies and players demand more from their games. But I didn’t ever think that Minecraft was so… deep in the whole microtransaction market. It’s the same sort of thing that you see for Fallout 4 and TESV: Skyrim, someone making money off of mods. Heck, you basically pay for skins and stuff in all sorts of games.
I think the problem is that Minecraft was always supposed to be… better than this. More pure and innocent. And because I’ve been playing on Java Edition for all these years, I’ve been completely shielded by it, so realising this stuff exists came to me as a bit of a surprise.
It’s not bad. The Minecraft Marketplace isn’t bad. Expensive? Possibly. Slightly exploitative of players based on their method of accessing Minecraft? Yeah kinda. But it exists and frankly there’s nothing I can do about it, except recommend that people who use Bedrock Edition should try out Java Edition if they can. If only so they can try things like Optifine and the vast amounts of community-made mod and resource packs out there.
Actually, there’s one other reason why Java Edition is better than Bedrock Edition: boats are far cheaper to make, not requiring a wooden shovel to build. And in my eyes, that’s a straight upgrade right there.