Elias Pelcastre

Is it worth downloading the new Minecraft Launcher beta for Mac?

Developer Mojang just released a new Minecraft Launcher for Mac. Is it worth the download?

First, the launcher is in a beta phase, which means you may encounter some bugs that mess with your gaming experience. Second, you need OS X Lion or above to play.

If none of the latter sounds like a problem, go ahead, install the new Minecraft Launcher. It works pretty smooth.

After you download the app on the following link and drag it to the Apps folder in your computer, Minecraft Launcher will update. That takes up 55 MB and will happen quite often during the day as part of Mojang’s test.

I didn’t have a Minecraft license, so I registered on the web and selected the “Play Demo” option. The launcher has a “Register” button, but it redirected me to a desktop browser.

It took a minute or two, and a Minecraft-like box jumped on the screen with the “Java” title. From what I read on the launcher’s press release, I thought Java wasn’t involved…

You can read the release after the break, with some problems you might encounter and how to solve them.

You may have noticed that launching Minecraft on OSX is kind of a pain in the butt. We’ve been trying for a while to make that not the case, and finally we have the solution. Following on from our previous efforts to make installing Minecraft on Windows really simple (no java required, just our own installer) we’ve now created a very similar application for OSX.

You will find, at the bottom of this small wall of text, a link to the new fancy Native OSX Launcher. It does not require Java to be installed, nor any other dependencies. Just open up the link, drag the Minecraft icon to your applications folder, and you’re all done. That’s it.

There is one caveat: You must be running at least Mac OS X Lion (10.7) or newer. Sorry, but Java itself isn’t supported on anything lower. 🙁

Please give it a test and let me know any issues you encounter with it. Note that the visual launcher itself has not changed, so any bugs in that are probably pre-existing and we aren’t looking to fix those right now (but will very soon; there’s some big changes coming!).

We will test the self-updating a few times over the course of the day, so be prepared to allow it to download up to 55MB a few times over.

Just try installing it and running it. Do you get an error message, or did it work? If it worked, can you start the game? What about if you go offline before launching it, does it still work? What if you deleted ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft, does it handle that nicely?

If you find any issues at all, please post a comment here and include the following:

  • See if there’s a log file in ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft. If there is, put it on pastebin.org and include a link to it.
  • Describe what you were doing, what you expected it to do and how it broke. For example, “I opened it, I expected to see the normal launcher but instead got the spinning beachball of death.”
  • Tell me which version of OSX you’re running. Even if it worked, I still want to know what it worked on.

The music started playing in the background, and I just clicked on “Play demo”. The first thing that appeared was a window that tried to get me purchasing the game.

If you haven’t played Minecraft, like me, use the “W” key to go forward. If you tap “S” you go backwards, and “A” and “D” move you left and right, respectively. If you want to jump, just press space.

I walked and walked until I got to what looks like a sea and drowned. I couldn’t get out of the water.

When I selected demo again, I got a window that said the game would last five in-game days, or an hour and 40 minutes. I wonder if Minecraft imposes a restriction on how many demo games you can play.

Minecraft Launcher seemed stable to me, as I didn’t get any errors or slow gameplay in the short time I used it. That means that Mac users can finally play Minecraft in a native app.

What do you think of Minecraft Launcher? Please let me know in the comment section.