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How to read Minecraft’s Snapshot names

Why are they so cryptic?
minecraft alex telescope
Image via Mojang/Microsoft

Minecraft needs no introduction. But what may need a little clarification, are those snapshot names. Despite being a game centred around being easy to understand and intuitive, their snapshot naming system leaves everyone puzzled. Not only hard to say in conversation, but they surely can’t be an effective way of naming the releases, can they? Here is how to read the Minecraft Snapshot names.

How to understand Snapshot names in Minecraft

What is a Minecraft snapshot?

A Minecraft snapshot acts as a mini experimental update. The developers of Minecraft are very active, and are constantly hearing out community feedback. However, the big updates are released every year, so they can only hear about community feedback through tiny updates that include unfinished aspects of the big update.

Snapshots are vital to the development of Minecraft as they allow the devs to find out bugs and squash them, and see which experimental features need fleshing out. By posting the snapshots frequently, they can constantly work on the features to make sure the release is as polished as possible.

Top Minecraft mansion designs The Wild Update
Image via Microsoft

From the java launcher, players can access the snapshots as they come out, if they want to have a look at what’s ahead, or if they want to see the features for themselves. Additionally, this promotes the prosumer culture of Minecraft, and maintains an active relationship between the devs and the players.

Why are they named like that?

So, if they are so important, why are they named like that?

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Snapshots don’t really have names, rather they are named according to the naming system.

snapshots in minecraft
Image via Mojang / Microsoft

Let’s dissect this snapshot: 22w43a:

  • The first number, ’22’, represents the year the snapshot is part of (2022).
  • The ‘w’ is short for “week”, and the second number tells us which week of the year the snapshot is part of (w43 = the 43rd week of 2022).
  • The final letter tells us the snapshot version of that week of that month. So, the ‘a’ tells us that this snapshot is the first of that week of that year. If one week has four snapshots, then the names will range from 22w43a to 22w43d.

When the method is exposed, it suddenly becomes clear and easy to understand. This is a very easy way for the team to keep up to date with current snapshots without thinking of names for each one – that would be confusing considering how manys snapshots there are!

Keep an eye on Gamer Journalist for more gaming and Minecraft content, such as why the 1.20 update has no name.

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