Minecraft Xbox One Edition Review (XONE)

Minecraft Xbox One Screen 1. Mojang

Are you feeling constrained by the tiny 1 square kilometer worlds in Minecraft XBLA? Do you wish the fog that obscures your view of your Minecraft world was a little further out than ten feet in front of your face? Would you like a whole new list of fun Minecraft achievements to play through? Well then, good news everyone! Minecraft for Xbox One is amazing. It improves the things that needed to be improved, and it leaves the good stuff intact. There is no doubt that the Xbox One Edition is the best place for Xbox fans to play Minecraft.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Mojang
  • Developer: 4J Studios
  • ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Pros: Definite visual upgrade over 360 ver; $5 upgrade deal; fully featured; great controls; amazingly fun gameplay
  • Cons: Motion sickness; say goodbye to friends and family for a while

For gameplay specifics, please see my Minecraft XBLA review where I spell out things in more detail. This article is about what is new and different on Xbox One.

Xbox One Version Improvements and Differences

Unlike the XBLA version of Minecraft, which launched with a pretty light feature list (though a ton of features have been added in via free updates), the Xbox One Edition is fully featured right from the start. It is still a couple of updates behind the PC version, but that is to be expected. It has all of the features that have been updated into the XBLA version, which a good place to start. It has a creative mode, the adventure update that adds RPG elements to the game, enchanting, potion making, animal breeding, farming, and all of the other fun stuff that makes Minecraft so addictive. It also has the ending content so you can fight the Enderdragon and actually "beat" the game. 

There are also a couple of key important features on Xbox One you won't find in the XBLA version. First, the worlds are up to 36 times larger than on XBLA. This means 36 square kilometers to explore, which is plenty of space to actually get lost in and struggle to find your way back to your home base if you aren't careful. 

The other major improvement is that the visuals are quite a bit better. It is still blocky and "pixelly" Minecraft, but everything is much sharper on Xbox One. The amount of the world you see at one time is also greatly increased. The fog is still there off in the distance, but much further away now. You don't see the landscape popping into existence right in front of your face anymore. You can look towards the horizon and see mountains and forests and stuff a surprisingly long way away. I like to build towers to mark my way back to base with a bunch or torches or another light source on top, and you can see these towers from hundreds of meters away. Simply being able to see better dramatically changes the way you play Minecraft. You see things off in the distance you want to explore that you wouldn't have even seen on XBLA without being much closer. That in itself is worth the upgrade.

Speaking of upgrades, Minecraft for Xbox One is available in two flavors - A $20 version for new players, and a $5 upgrade if you have previously played the XBLA version with your Gamertag. The upgrade will show up immediately when you look up Minecraft in the Xbox Games Store on Xbox One if you qualify. All of your skin packs, texture packs, and mash-up packs that you bought on XBLA will transfer to XONE as well. 

If you upgrade, you still have access to the XBLA version. You can also copy saves from the XBLA version to the Xbox One version via a few button presses in the menus of both version (though you can only transfer one save at a time) and you, of course, still have access to that save on both versions. The transferred save worlds don't get any bigger, unfortunately, so you'll still be stuck in a 1 sq/km world, but there are still definite benefits. Like I mentioned above, the increased view distance makes a big impact, and I saw new details in my old XBLA worlds I didn't even know existed before because I simply couldn't see them through the fog. The game loads quite a bit faster on XONE compared to XBLA as well, which makes jumping in for a quick game much easier.


Everything else is pretty much the same as it was on XBLA as far as gameplay goes. The controls are the same. The interface is the same. It's all the same. But that's a good thing. It is the same block punching, resource gathering, monster fighting, fortress building game as ever.


Multiplayer on Xbox One allows for 2-4 player local split-screen as well as up to 8 players on Xbox Live. Unfortunately, there are no central server-based worlds a bunch of people can all play in at different times like on the PC (though it may still come in the future), so multiplayer works pretty much the same as on XBLA. 

Motion Sickness

One additional comment. Minecraft can be a pretty powerful motion sickness trigger, so if you a susceptible to it like I am, take precautions. Turning off the camera movement bob in the options makes a huge difference, but I also take ginger pills and wear SeaBand wristbands. Walking around on the surface is usually fine, but going down into mines and digging linear tunnels makes me pretty sick. 

Bottom Line

Ultimately, Minecraft for Xbox One is the best version you can buy on an Xbox system. If you haven't already jumped into the Minecraft phenomenon, this is a great place to start (see our Tips & Tricks for the XBLA version for some quick pointers). If you've played the heck out of the XBLA version, spending $5 to upgrade to XONE is pretty much a no-brainer. The improved visuals actually make the game feel fresh again. The achievement list offers a new list to unlock for a full 1000GS, and some of them are pretty fun. Minecraft also deserves a special shout out because it is a great family game. Kids and parents can all play together and build their own little world and it is amazingly fun. I can't recommend it highly enough. Minecraft for Xbox One is absolutely worth a purchase.