Microsoft Breaking Java Minecraft on Raspberry Pi with Microsoft Accounts

Minecraft was acquired by Microsoft about 7 years ago, but 2021 is the year where Minecraft is finally switching to Microsoft’s account system and an updated launcher that will leave out players who have gotten the Java version to work on the Raspberry Pi platform in the transition.

There is a free version of Minecraft for the Raspberry Pi called Minecraft: Pi Edition and while that version is in some ways more accessible to modifications the Pi Edition isn’t compatible with Minecraft Java or Minecraft Bedrock worlds and servers. Minecraft: Pi Edition can’t even run in fullscreen and hasn’t received updates since 2016.

Because Minecraft Java can run on any platform that can handle Java, users of the Raspberry Pi have been able to run it in the past as long as they had Minecraft Java claimed on their Mojang account.

Players have also noticed that any new Minecraft Java purchasers today get Microsoft accounts to log into the Minecraft website instead of Mojang accounts. All Mojang accounts will also be forced to switch to Microsoft accounts that don’t work with the old Java system and only work in Mojang’s new launcher that uses the Microsoft login system. The newest Minecraft launcher is a native app on Linux, macOS, and Windows that isn’t cross-platform.

Not everybody can afford hundreds of dollars to purchase a gaming computer in 2021, but it doesn’t take a lot to run Minecraft Java, and the low-cost Raspberry Pi 3 and 4 have been powerful enough to unofficially run Minecraft Java for a long time now. Unfortunately those users will be locked out of the platform unless players can convince Microsoft and Mojang to bring the new launcher to the Raspberry Pi or developers with projects like the alternative launcher project MultiMC can figure out a workaround. There is one other possibility, x86 emulation on the ARM-based Raspberry Pi might get fast enough to run the official Java editions of Minecraft and their Microsoft-account-supporting launcher but that probably won’t happen on the Raspberry Pi 3 or 4.

I bought a Raspberry Pi 4 for my son earlier this year to run Minecraft, but I was surprised to see that the Microsoft account was an insurmountable barrier to playing the game. Java is supposed to be cross-platform but Microsoft has found a way to remove that cross-platform support by tying it to their login system and launcher.

Author: Jack Slater

A Philadelphian living in Hawaii. If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting me on Patreon or Ko-Fi. You can follow or contact me on Twitter where I'm @NuclearSlater, via the contact page, or via e-mail to zjs@zacharyjackslater.com. Find out more about Nuclear Monster here.

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