The world of gaming, as predictable as it can sometimes be, can definitely surprise you every once in a while. And I’m not talking about game developers, whose jobs are to entertain and surprise, but about the community. While parts of the community are perfectly capable of pleasant surprises regularly, others are just known for being overly aggressive on the internet.
So when pretty much everyone to try a game has the same positive opinion about it, it stands to reason that the developers managed to achieve something great with their brainchild. Further showing that video games can be so much more than hours of wasted time (I’m talking to you, most triple A titles), May will bring us Minecraft Education Edition.
Even though it may not look like much, Minecraft is amazing in its complexity and in its potential for developing creativity and imagination. And with so many people spending hundreds, if not thousands of hours in the game unleashing their creative sides, nobody was surprised when Notch, the game’s developer, sold the game to Microsoft in 2014 for a whopping $2.5 billion.
And while many expected Microsoft to go places with the software, to develop it beyond recognition, few actually expected them to make an educational version of the game. And even fewer expected so many schools to buy into the idea and to sign up to actively use it in class.
Starting in May, a beta edition will hit over one hundred schools in thirty different countries all over the world. The schools will provide Microsoft with feedback on how to improve the game and what improvements and kinks should be approached in exchange for free access to the software.
Next, come June, an early access version will roll out, available in forty-one countries and eleven languages. This version will be available in exchange for feed-back and bug reporting all throughout the summer, and it will allow teachers to show Microsoft how to construct lesson plans, create reusable projects, and share learning activity ideas.
Licenses will be made available through various channels, and schools already involved in an agreement with Microsoft will be able to add the Minecraft Education Edition license to their user agreements later this year. More details regarding pricing and commercialization plans will also arrive later this year.
Microsoft came up with the idea to make Minecraft Education Edition after finding out that some seven thousand classrooms in over forty countries are using Minecraft in their curriculum. Whether this will prove a mutually beneficial relationship will have to be revealed once the entire pricing options and software features are revealed.
Image source: Flickr