Why do Minecraft users have UUIDs? It's a question as old as any; are we alone in the universe? Is the cake a lie? What came before sliced bread? Well, perhaps it's not quite as difficult to answer as those gems, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Before we get started, what the heck is a UUID?
UUID, or Universally Unique Identifier, is a method of identifying information within computer systems with a near zero percent chance of the ID matching any other created before it, or after it. Those of you familiar with Microsoft's ecosystems may have also heard of it referred to as a GUID, or Globally Unique Identifier, but both terms represent the same thing. Since the probability of two UUIDs matching is negligible, they are especially useful for identifying users. After all, you, the user, are universally unique... unless we get into multiverse theory, but we'll save that for a future article. Minecraft users have UUIDs for this exact reason, but it wasn't always this way...
Let us go back to a time, before Minecraft users were identified uniquely throughout the universe...
Before 2014, a Minecraft user was identified by their username. Why is this not so good? Well, had the change to UUIDs not been made, Minecraft users would not be able to change their in-game name. So, that username you thought was funny when you first bought Minecraft, which is now embarrassing, would be stuck with you forever unless you bought the game again.
There were some, albeit short term, downsides to the change though. As a result of a user's username being the identifier for their account previously, things like bans, whitelists and blacklists, and on the non-vanilla side of things, world regions, ownership and economy, all had to be migrated to convert usernames to UUIDs.
Thankfully, such migrations didn't have to be manual and tedious, as services such as minecraftuuid.com could speed up the process of getting a player's username, UUID, skin, when they created their account, and even their past usernames! Spooky right?
My Minecraft UUID is d0256289-3cf5-4b12-8895-0bb5db67da4b. Want to lookup yours? Head over to minecraftuuid.com and enter your username! Head over to ServerFlex too and start your free, no commitment, trial of the future of Minecraft server hosting.