New Minecraft Launcher is in Open Beta
A few days ago, Dinnerbone on Reddit announced that he and Mans Olson from Team Mojang put together a new Minecraft launcher that is available to try. It will feature a large graphical appearance change to mirror that of the new website's appearance.
The launcher that you know is, well, pretty drab.
The majority of it is a wall of text and then some buttons on the bottom for account login, profile management, and launching the game. This is very uninviting to new players -- and even though the Java version of Minecraft is functionally the superior one to the other versions (Pocket, Windows 10, console versions, etc), a portion of would-be users of the Java version are surely turned away by this launcher. You also have Java to contend with -- not always a run-and-done process.
As of 3 days ago the beta version of a new launcher (above) is available to try out. It replaces the old launcher and is drastically different in appearance. The only button you see is the one to play the game -- all other options like profiles and accounts are hidden in menus (at the top right of the window). One of the nicest new features is the ability to change your Minecraft skin from the launcher -- no need to visit the website at all.
The new launcher doesn't need Java; it's self-contained and even downloads (just the first time) Mojang's own version of Java that is used to run Minecraft. You won't need regular Java installed at all (for Minecraft anyway). One issue streamers may have is that the new launcher doesn't let you run multiple instances of Minecraft (often used by streamers as a 'camera man'). But this is a beta, so that may change.
Want to try it out? It's available for Windows (7 and 10) or for Mac (10.7 and higher). But as with all betas, be warned as this is not a finished product and will have bugs. The new launcher won't carry over any profiles from the old launcher, and will in fact erase them, so be sure to back up any profiles you have. It will NOT affect any of worlds you have, and it doesn't affect the game itself. Eventually (time frame unknown), this new launcher will be the official one -- so whether or not you try it out now, it will eventually be what you use.