Minecraft is a phenomenon that continues to take the world by storm even 12 years after its full release. Selling over 238,000,000 copies worldwide, the game is just as captivating an experience now as it was upon its debut.
If you are among those that have yet to jump into the blocky digital world of one of the best-selling video games of all time, you may be surprised to hear there are multiple ways for you to play Minecraft (and its various spinoffs) for free!
Minecraft Free Trial
For those wanting to get a taste of the endless hours of entertainment that Minecraft can provide, but are yet unwilling to pay the entry fee, there is in fact a free trial of both Bedrock and Java versions of the game. Via Minecraft’s official website, you can access links that will lead to the download pages for the Bedrock Edition, available on Windows, Android, PS3/4/5, and PS Vita.
In terms of the Java Edition, which is available exclusively to Windows, Mac, and Linux, an additional set of links are available lower down on the same page, with specific instructions on how to download and install each respective version.
The free trial (regardless of the Edition or your platform) is the full game as paying customers would experience it; there is no barred content that will be inaccessible. To ensure this isn’t exploited, you have a time limit imposed once you begin the trial. The time limit varies from platform to platform, but always averages out at around 90-100 minutes, equating to around 5 in-game days.
Whilst the restriction can be frustrating, this is more than enough time to try out the various mechanics in the game, and familiarise yourself with the gameplay loop if you’re uncertain as to whether you’ll enjoy it. If you’re considering buying Minecraft on your preferred platform, this is the optimum way to experience the game a little and know for sure before you spend your money.
Play Minecraft Classic for Free
As part of the 10 year anniversary for Minecraft back in 2019, Mojang released a completely free, browser-based version of the original build of Minecraft creative mode for you to enjoy. As this version is a replica of the OG mode, there are only 32 blocks available to use, it contains all the original bugs that were part of that version. Also, because it’s browser-based, you are unable to save your builds should you close the browser.
Upon generation of a world, you can copy the link it creates and share it with up to nine friends, letting you all play together! Whether you’re wanting a nostalgia trip to where it all began or fancy dipping your toe in for the first time, you can access this free version of Minecraft at https://classic.minecraft.net/.
Play Minecraft on Game Pass
An obvious inclusion for those in the know, Xbox and PC Players who have an Xbox Game Pass subscription can access Minecraft for “free” as part of their subscription, though you’ll need to continue paying the subscription to keep your access to the game. To play Minecraft: Java & Bedrock Edition with Game Pass on PC, you'll just need to install the Java & Bedrock Edition from the Microsoft Store page or from the Xbox app for PC. You can then install and play each separate version from within the Minecraft launcher!
For Xbox players, you can install Minecraft on your Xbox if you have an active Game Pass Ultimate or Game Pass for Console subscription.
Other Minecraft Games and Spinoffs
Minecraft Dungeons, the hack and slash dungeon crawler released in 2020, is similarly available on Game Pass for subscribers. For PlayStation players, Minecraft Dungeons was included as a PlayStation Plus monthly free game for March 2023. If you didn’t redeem the title during its availability however, you’ll need to purchase the game should you wish to play it.
Similarly for PlayStation players, the full version of Minecraft’s base game is not available to download and play via PlayStation Plus. If you wish to play the game beyond the free trial, you’ll need to purchase it via the PlayStation Store.
For those that are looking for a more narrative-focused Minecraft tale, there was Minecraft: Story Mode, an episodic point-and-click adventure from Telltale Games. Minecraft: Story Mode is however unavailable on any/all platforms after being discontinued due to the closure of Telltale Games in 2018. This means that unless you already have the game downloaded and installed on your platform of choice, you will be unable to play this game.
One final game to mention is Minecraft Legends, an action-strategy spinoff that released this year on April 18th. The price for the game varies depending upon your chosen platform, but if you have a Game Pass subscription, the game is available for free.
How Much Does Minecraft Cost
If you're beyond the free trial and don't have Xbox Game Pass but are curious how much Minecraft costs, we have a breakdown for different platforms: The Java & Bedrock Edition Base Game for PC will set you back $29.99 while the Deluxe Collection of it for PC (which includes 1600 Minecoins, 5 Maps, 5 Persona Items, 3 Emotes, 3 Skin Packs, and 1 Texture Pack) comes in at $39.99. The same pricing is also used for the Standard and Deluxe versions on Nintendo Switch.
Samuel (Sam) Heaney is a freelance guides writer at IGN and Minecraft expert. He's a typical Brit who loves cups of tea and gin and tonics. Oh, and he's also a huge Marvel nerd. You can find him on Twitter @SamHeaney.