Microsoft to roll out Minecraft education edition
Tue 19 Jan 2016
Mojang, the company that created Minecraft, announced today that Microsoft will acquire Minecraft.Edu and will create a new version called Minecraft: Education Edition. The new version of the popular game will be available to schools and educators at a discounted price, and offer many features to use the incredibly popular game in the classroom.
The $2.5 billion acquisition of Minecraft creator Mojang was completed back in November 2014. While Minecraft appears to be maintaining and increasing in popularity. According to Mojang, 22,243,493 people have purchased the PC/MAC version of the game; 12,578 in the last 24 hours. These numbers don’t include purchases on mobile devices, phones and traditional gaming platforms such as Xbox and Playstation. Total sales are well over the 70 million mark. So why bring the already popular and profitable game into the classroom?
Computing systems used in schools continue to be an important part of classroom education, and an important part of sales and sales strategy for companies. Of the $7 billion spent by schools, on 13.2 million systems in 2014, Microsoft had a slight lead over Apple with 38% and 32% of that business respectively. But Google Chromebooks have been increasing market share and exposure in schools. Minecraft Education Edition may be a way for Windows to get some of that market back and increase early exposure to Windows systems and products to its youngest consumers.
MinecraftEdu has been used in classrooms since 2011, spanning thousands of users in over 40 countries and according to Mojang it has been a wild success. For now, the company is crowdsourcing ideas for improving MinecraftEdu functionality for the new version through education.minecraft.net, and by providing lesson plans and a Minecraft Mentors page, where new users can connect with experienced teachers for sharing ideas and tips.
Some of the new features already announced for Minecraft: Education Edition will be an improvement in the mapping feature, so that individuals in a class can find their way through a ‘world’ as part of a lesson, adding an in-game camera so that users can record their activities during a session, and giving teachers the capability to lock in resources for their students. A library of lesson plans will be available for teachers at the launch of Minecraft: Education Edition this summer, and while applications seem almost limitless “from STEM to arts and poetry”, Microsoft does not intent to change Minecraft to a strictly educational program. It will still be a game, something that kids are interested in using, but with classroom applications.