“When used in the right way, Minecraft can help people around the world to learn lots more.”
A version of popular sandbox game Minecraft called “MinecraftEdu” from a third-party developer has been used in classrooms since 2011. Now, Microsoft–which acquired Mojang and the Minecraft franchise in 2014 has purchased MinecraftEdu from its developer and is building a new version “dedicated to learning” called Minecraft: Education Edition. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“Of course, every Minecraft player learns essential life-skills like tree-punching and good Creeper-defense but, when used in the right way, Minecraft can help people around the world to learn lots more,” Mojang’s Owen Hill said in a new release.
Since its introduction in 2011, MinecraftEdu–an officially licensed program from TeacherGaming–was used in more than 40 countries, Mojang said. Everyone who bought MinecraftEdu will get the first year of Minecraft: Education Edition for free.
The goal is to make subscriptions to Minecraft: Education Edition as “affordable and accessible as possible.” The plan right now is to keep the price at $5 per user per year. Additionally, a volume license model will be available for “large-scale academic institutions.” Further details will be announced later.
Minecraft: Education Edition can be purchased by schools, libraries, museums, and those in nationally recognized home-school programs.
A free trial of Minecraft: Education Edition will be available this summer. Minecraft’s many mods are not supported.
“It’s going to be a collaborative thing,” Mojang said. “Development of Minecraft: Education Edition will be shaped by a community of educators thanks to education.minecraft.net. The site will host lesson plans and give Minecraft: Education Edition users somewhere to discuss ideas and provide feedback. We know teachers can be a rowdy bunch, so we’re looking into the best ways to moderate the forums as I type. Wish us luck.”