Microsoft Acquires Maker of Minecraft for the Classroom
With the acquisition of MinecraftEdu, Microsoft looks beyond Office 365 as a means to expand its portfolio of technology tools for teachers.Having already achieved commercial success among video gamers, Microsoft is now on a mission to bring Minecraft to classrooms. The company is acquiring MinecraftEdu from Teacher Gaming LLC and "investing in a new and expanded version of Minecraft for the classroom called Minecraft Education Edition," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education for Microsoft, in a Jan. 19 announcement. The new title "will offer an expanded set of features to empower educators to foster deeper student engagement and collaboration," he continued. MinecraftEdu, as the name suggests, is an education-themed build of Minecraft, the popular building-block game Microsoft acquired for $2.5 billion in 2014. "Minecraft is more than a great game franchise—it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement at the time. Some of that community has already extended the video game brand into the market for educational technology solutions.
"Over the past few years, educators around the world have been using Minecraft to explore subjects that might not spring to mind when you think of our block-based game," blogged Owen Hill, director of creative communications at Mojang, the Microsoft-owned studio that created Minecraft, today. "Since 2011, MinecraftEdu—a version of Minecraft built for the classroom—has been used in over 40 countries. Lots of people have learned loads of things since then."