Microsoft says starting next year all Minecraft Java edition users will have to have a Microsoft account to play

To enhance security and safety, Mojang, the makers of MineCraft, will require players to have a Microsoft account starting in early 2021.

Correction: Microsoft was in touch this afternoon through a spokesperson to clarify that the movement of accounts is only for people who use the Java edition of MineCraft. There are different versions of MineCraft, and this new rule will only pertain to the Java version, Microsoft's Xbox team said through a spokesperson.

The primary point of distinction is contained in the following item in the FAQ:

Who will have to migrate their Mojang account to a Microsoft account? 

A: All players who use a Mojang account or a legacy Minecraft account to play Minecraft Java edition will need to migrate to a Microsoft account in order to continue playing Java edition.

Mojang, makers of the MineCraft video game, announced in a blog post that starting early next year, all users of the Java version of the game will have to get a Microsoft account in order to play.

For users of MineCraft Java edition, that means migrating off of their existing account with Mojang, the studio that was acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for $17.8 billion.

"Moving forward, all of our games will require a Microsoft account to play – including Minecraft Java Edition," reads a staff post on the MineCraft blog.

In a companion FAQ, Mojang stated that the shift is for the purpose of safety and security:

We have decided to move away from legacy accounts to better protect our players, increase overall account security, and introduce new safety features. Because we can't do this with legacy accounts, we made the decision to use Microsoft accounts instead of building new ones from scratch. The biggest added benefit to migrating your account is the option to enable two-factor authentication. We will roll out additional player safety features over time. 

The blog post notes that increased safety features include parental controls and "chat and invitation blocking."

"Once you have completed the steps, you'll use your Microsoft account to log in to Minecraft going forward," the blog post explained. "You'll no longer be able to log in using your Mojang account."

Regarding time frames, the post notes, "you will have to start moving accounts in early 2021."