The initial release of the launcher was when Minecraft Alpha was first released. This launcher could choose not only the current version but also Infdev.
The launcher was updated in February 2011 (around the release of Beta 1.3), with a smarter update system and automatic login. It was updated again around 1.3.2 with a demo mode for non-premium users, and the current launcher was released around 1.6.1.
The current launcher has multiple features, including:
- Managing multiple profiles
- Usage of refresh tokens rather than storing the password locally
- Ability to update libraries such as LWJGL
- Offline mode (The first time launch requires an Internet connection to download required resources)
- Available in 57 languages
- Downloading server versions of updates
- Automatic updates
- Crashes are indexed through a database for information on how to fix the issue
- Crashes can be reported to Mojang through Hopper.
- Ability to play old Alpha and Beta versions of the game, as well as snapshots and all release versions
- Changing skin without going to website