The new Minecraft launcher has been teased since 2015, but recent news has revealed that it has now begun rolling out to players across the world. So what’s it all about? How do you get the new launcher? What has changed and what do you have to look forward to? Well, let’s find out! Let this be your guide to the new Minecraft launcher, as sourced from core developers, enthusiasts and my own usage.
As the sixth transformation of the game’s launcher, this version has been in the works by Mojang developers Dinnerbone and MansOlsen since mid-2015. It was teased sparingly until October 2016, when a snapshot of the launcher was made available on Reddit’s /r/Minecraft for beta-testing.
How Do I Get the New Minecraft Launcher?
Your current launcher will automatically update (the second of its kind to do that) when the new one is available for you. It was scheduled to begin rolling out over a two week period beginning on January 31st. 12% of players had been graced with the new launcher by February 12th. As of February 10th, 100% of players should have had the launcher deployed to them. The reason for this limited release is to allow the developers to address any major bugs that might appear before the launcher is widespread.
According to Dinnerbone, beta-testers will receive a notification that the full version is out and their main launcher will update. They can then delete the beta installation.
This launcher is available to players using Windows 7 and higher, while the Mac version requires OSX 10.8.0 (Mountain Lion), according to Dinnerbone. It also offers native Linux support now, a long-sought-after feature, which you can learn more about here. Those players with incompatible operating systems will be able to fall back to the old launcher, according to the developers.
What About My Profiles and Mods?!
They will be just fine. The new launcher will still use the profiles and mods in your .minecraft folder. The user data is imported if you stored multiple accounts on your old launcher.
So What Has Changed?
The new user interface (UI) is the most obvious change to the new Minecraft launcher, featured in the image above. It clearly marks a decision by Mojang to implement a consistent new style, also found on Minecraft.net (shown to the right). The launcher uses the Segoe UI font, now, which is often adopted by Microsoft products.
Don’t let the clean and modern user interface fool you – this launcher is even more powerful than its predecessor.
Gone is the slightly gothic-looking Tumblr news feed that appeared as the first tab when you first loaded up the launcher. Replacing it are scrolling images with small captions, linking to the Minecraft and Mojang sites. This isn’t a review, but if there is one thing I don’t like about the new launcher, it would have to be this. The pretty pictures just aren’t as comprehensive as the full update change-logs provided in the previous launcher.
This addition may be easy to overlook, but it is certainly a welcome one. The Help button on the top-right will lead you to a very useful page, one that has evolved from a small sidebar on the old Tumblr page.
Alongside links to articles by Mojang and various forums, a search bar allows you to directly lookup information on Minecraft’s most popular Wiki. A server status section is also on this page, letting you check when Mojang’s essential servers are down. Even the most advanced players will find these to be essential tools.
Possibly the biggest addition to the new Minecraft launcher is the ability to change your skin inside of the second tab, without having to go to the Minecraft website.
This tab also allows you to download sample Steve and Alex skins.
The launcher no longer uses Java. According to the developers, this allows for more speed, security and cool new features (like the Skins tab). While the PC game itself does use Java, it uses a version maintained by Mojang that comes bundled with the Minecraft files.
For the more technical users out there (or for those who like to access server chat logs from the launcher), the log output has also seen significant changes. Most notably, it is much cleaner and offers filter options. However, some players don’t like the fact that the logs are in a separate window instead of in a tab within the launcher.
The Language Menu
A menu to select a language was added to the top-left of the launcher. At the time of testing, this menu is different to the in-game language options.
The 1.6 update significantly changed the way that the Minecraft launcher and mod installations worked. I am happy to report that no such changes have been made this time around. To put it very simply for this brief outline: Mods are installed to game versions, which are loaded by profiles, which still offer advanced customization. You can find a more detailed outline of profiles here.
You can also assign icons to specific profiles now. However, profiles are not sorted alphabetically in the launcher, which has disappointed some players.
Some (Tiny) Easter Eggs
Hover over the Play button. Click on the creeper face, close the launcher and reopen it. Easy.
Due to extensive bug reports on numerous Reddit threads, there shouldn’t be as many issues with the full launcher as there were with the beta. Having said that, reports of crashes and failures – especially when loading mods – have been noted by the community so far. You can find and report issues related to the launcher to Mojang using their Bug Tracker. This is found here.
Here you can find another resource on the new Minecraft launcher by Empire Minecraft’s very own Slvr!
How do you feel about the new Minecraft launcher? Is it an improvement? Is something missing? Disastrous? Outstanding? Let us know!