Microsoft is to launch a dedicated educational version of Minecraft which it hopes will be used in classrooms globally – a move that will be sure to put kids off the hugely popular game.
Back in 2014 Microsoft bought the game from Swedish developer Mojang for $2.5bn (£1.7bn). More than 54 million copies of Minecraft have been sold.
Speaking at the BETT technology in education trade show, Anthony Salicto, veep of worldwide education at Microsoft, said the company was excited about the new product.
Asked if embedding the game in classrooms as an educational tool might make the game less appealing, he responded that could be true of Minecraft and all technology.
“There has to be a purpose for using technology," he said. "Minecraft is an open platform and gives teachers a significant variety and focus in what they are trying to achieve,” he said.
“You’ve got to think of Minecraft and all technology as a tool. The question we have to ask is what are we trying to achieve. We hope to bottle the enthusiasm of Minecraft.”
Microsoft has long had a foothold in schools. However, at the BETT show in 2012, the then education secretary Michael Gove announced that the government was scrapping the former ICT curriculum because children were being “bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel."
Nevertheless, this year Microsoft is hosting a session entitled: Making learning come to life with Office 365.
According to Microsoft the game is already being used in 7,000 classrooms, with the new version to be released this summer. ®