Microsoft Acquires MinecraftEdu, Announces "Education Edition"
"When used in the right way, Minecraft can help people around the world to learn lots more."
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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. Further eligibility details are available here.
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."
You can learn more about Minecraft: Education Edition at its official website. Further details are available in this FAQ.