Minecraft is a popular indie open world game where players can build, destroy, fight and explore in a virtual world. The full version of the game now costs $23.95, but you can also play the game for free. If you'd rather not pay, you'll have to settle for the demo version of the game. There is a time limit on it, and you can't play with it online.
Part 1 of 2: Download the game
Step 1. Go to minecraft.net and download the launcher
To play Minecraft, you must first download the game. Minecraft works a little differently than most games: you can always download Minecraft for free, but you have to pay for an account to play the full version.
- To download the launcher (the program you use to play the game), go to Minecraft.net. On the right you will see three options: 'Download Minecraft', 'Play the demo' and 'Have you bought the game yet? Download it here'. Even if you haven't paid for the game (yet), go for the latter option.
- If you're using Windows, click Minecraft.msi or Minecraft.exe on the next page. Your download starts now. If you're using Mac or Linux, click on 'Show all platforms' and choose the appropriate option.
Step 2. Install the launcher
Run the file when your download is complete. The installation process starts right away. Simply follow the instructions to complete the installation.
For most users, the installation should go smoothly. If you still have trouble downloading or installing Minecraft, check out the resources at help.mojang.com
Step #3. Open the launcher
After installing the Minecraft launcher will start immediately. If not, you can always run it yourself by opening it in the folder where you installed it.
Step 4. Register an account
The launcher will ask for your login details to verify that you have paid for the game. Click on 'Register', since you don't have an account yet. Without an account you can't play the game at all – not even the demo.
The 'Register' button will open your default browser and take you to the Mojang website to create an account. Follow the instructions and enter a username and password. You must also enter a valid email address so that you can get the verification email
Part 2 of 2: Play for free
Step 1. Sign in with your new account details
Once you have registered your account, you can log in with the Minecraft launcher. After logging in, you may see the launcher start downloading additional files through the progress bar at the bottom of the window. This is normal.
You need an internet connection when signing up, as your login details must be checked with Mojang's servers
Step 2. Run the demo
At the bottom of the window you will see a large button that says 'Play the demo'. Click this button to start the game. The launcher closes and a new game window opens. Click "Play the Demo World" on the title screen.
Step 3. Be aware of the limitations of the demo
Congratulations! You can now play Minecraft for free. If this is your first time, check out our Minecraft article to get your bearings. You should keep in mind that the demo version is not the full version; it is intended as a taster for what the full version has to offer. The main differences between the two versions are:
- The demo version has a limit of 100 minutes per session. After 100 minutes you can still visit the world, but you can no longer make or break blocks.
- You cannot connect to servers in the demo version. You can still play multiplayer over LAN.
Step 4. Alternatively, sign in with a friend's account information
If you have a friend who does have the full version of Minecraft, you can play the full game using their login credentials. Of course, only do this with your friend's permission, and preferably if he or she is there himself. Never use your friend's account information to illegally distribute the game, as doing so may permanently suspend your friend's account.
Minecraft's user agreement states, "Mojang gives you permission to install the game on your own computer, and to play the game on that computer." It's unlikely that sharing account information will get you in trouble (unless you intentionally download or share the game illegally), but violating the user agreement is a reason to be banned from the game
- Do not download Minecraft from illegal sources such as torrent websites – this is prohibited. Additionally, pirated versions of the game may have connectivity issues, rendering multiplayer unplayable.
- If you like to play Minecraft, buy the full version. You support the developers and you give them the opportunity to further develop the game.