Java Edition has been in constant development since mid-May 2009. What is now known as pre-Classic refers to the early unreleased versions of Minecraft during the week from May 10 to May 16, 2009. The next phase, what was later called Classic, lasted from May 17 to November 10, 2009. Indev, short for "in development", lasted from December 23, 2009, to February 23, 2010. Infdev, short for "infinite development", lasted from February 27 to June 30, 2010. Alpha lasted from June 30 to December 3, 2010, and Beta lasted from December 20, 2010, all the way through to November 11, 2011. The official release of Minecraft (Java Edition) came on November 18, 2011, at MINECON 2011, and further updates have been released ever since, the most recent being 1.18.1.
The full release stage of Minecraft: Java Edition's development started on November 18, 2011, and has continued until the present day. At this point of development, the game was considered "complete", having both an "ending" and being ready for ratings and reviews. The game's price also increased from what it was in Beta, but users who previously bought the game were not charged extra.
Unavailable in the launcher, but archived elsewhere.
The Beta development phase started on December 20, 2010 and ended on November 18, 2011. The main goals of this development stage were a larger focus on polishing gameplay, additional content, and stability. The game's price also increased from what it was in Alpha, but users who previously bought the game were not charged extra.
The Alpha development phase started on June 29, 2010, and ended on December 20, 2010. This version also limited the gamemode to Survival, but saw a re-release of multiplayer. At this time, Notch began developing the game full time, causing much more frequent updates. These were also the first versions which had to be purchased, though the price increased in later stages.
The Infdev development phase started on February 27, 2010 and ended on June 30, 2010. During this stage, Minecraft was only available in single-player Survival mode and versions were unnumbered under the name Minecraft Infdev. At this point, Notch rewrote the game code to allow mostly "infinite" terrain.
The Indev development phase started on December 23, 2009, and ended on February 27, 2010. It was the successor to the previous Survival Test and continued expanding the survival aspects of the game, making it a lot more like the current gameplay. Versions in this stage were either unnumbered or used the same number.
Classic was the first long development phase of the game, in which it was constantly improved and updated over several months. It occurred between May 16 and December 23, 2009. The original game mode was Creative, but on September 1, 2009 development began for Survival mode under the name Survival Test.
Not archived. IRC chat log/changelog proof exists.
Pre-Classic was the initial development phase of Minecraft, in which the very basic mechanics and elements of the game were developed, tested and improved over the period of less than a week—from May 10–16, 2009. It was not originally released to the public, but some versions are now playable via the launcher.