Minecraft's massive 1.20 update is nearly ready for release
Minecraft 1.20, also known as the Trails and Tales update, is looking set to come out very soon, as developer Mojang is starting to launch pre-release snapshots of the update.
Minecraft has a bit of an idiosyncratic patch release cycle, if you're not familiar with it. Major updates like 1.20 typically get previewed in 'snapshots' - beta versions of the patch made available to any Minecraft: Java Edition players who want to try out new features early. We typically get new snapshots launching weekly for several months, each of which will add a handful of new features debuting in the upcoming update.
Once the snapshots are done, we get pre-releases, which signify when the developers are done adding new features and are making final tweaks and bug fixes. That's where we're at now, as Minecraft 1.20 pre-release 1 has just gone live. You can see the patch notes for yourself on the official site, but they're pretty dry and technical - maybe the most notable thing is that a nearly 11-year-old bug has been fixed, the latest in a chain of fixes for ancient glitches.
Pre-releases continue until the major bugs are stamped out, and then we get release candidates, which are the final test versions that make sure there are no major issues before the actual update goes live. The gap between the first pre-release and the final launch of the update is typically pretty short. It was just under three weeks between the first pre-release and the proper launch of the 1.19 update for example.
This is all a very long-winded way of saying: Minecraft 1.20 is likely to launch across all versions of the game within the next month. It could be longer if Mojang discovers some major technical problems at the last minute, but precedent suggests that we'll be diving into Trails and Tales by early June.
Minecraft 1.20 has a load of new features in store, including things like archaeology, a cherry blossom biome, an armor customization system, and the Sniffer.