MinecraftEdu has been acquired by Microsoft, launching this Summer as a free trial, before group and individual pricing models will be introduced to institutions. It’s not shocking that Microsoft purchases any Minecraft-related idea or company that has some potential, given that the game is immensely popular across the world.
In 2014, Microsoft purchased Minecraft, from developer Mojang, for $2.5 billion. The company hasn’t disclosed how much it’s paying for MinecraftEdu.
Microsoft is aiming Minecraft at an area where it once ruled supreme, only to be contested by the mighty Google and Apple – the classrooms. With MinecraftEdu, it can very well regain its position as top-dog.
MinecraftEdu is being used by a massive following in more than 40 countries, and in over 7,000 classrooms. Teacher Gaming, a start-up, which modified the game for classrooms, will not be acquired by the big M.
Minecraft is best known as that sandbox game where your creativity can run amok. It’s also commonly labelled as a child’s game, where young ones can use block-shaped materials to transform them into items, create tools, and go on fantastic adventures that may, or may not, lead them to the Nether.
The endless destructive possibilities of Minecraft have caught the eyes of teachers, who see the platform as a powerful learning tool for everything from literature and math, to anatomy and space science.
Elementary school students in social science classes, from the Santa Ana Unified School District, in Orange County, California, have met online and built, from scratch mind you, several local historical sites that they studied throughout the year – like the Mission of San Juan Capistrano.
Other students, in science classes, have used the platform to prove that they have understood how to build circuits.
Classrooms pose as a test whether the tech giant can use Minecraft to achieve other company objectives. Given that Microsoft’s Windows operating system is facing tough competition in school districts all across the US from Apple’s iPad, and Google’s Chromebook, the company needs to push something new and refreshing that will entice children to use it, instead of its competitors’ products.
So, Minecraft is the perfect choice considering that it’s the best-selling PC game of all time, according to Microsoft, and, since it launched on mobile platforms, it’s the top paid app year after year on both dominant mobile app platforms – iOS and Android.
There are well over 160 million people watching more than 5 billion hours of Minecraft videos on YouTube as well.
But, with Google reporting that there are north of 50 million students, educators and administrators worldwide, using the free Google Apps for Education, Microsoft’s gamble on Minecraft needs to succeed if it wishes to remain in the fight.
MinecraftEdu will cost schools $5 per student annually, Microsoft plans.
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