Minecraft, one of the latest video games to keep kids glued to their screen across the globe, is also having a very real impact on the education world.
Minecraft has been deemed a ‘sand box game’ because of its lack of structure when players begin, writes Chris Taylor for Reuters. There are no rules or guidelines laid out for players. They must figure out how to start with nothing and build themselves up through the levels. This sort of game, by default, builds problem solving and reading skills as players learn to maneuver through the virtual world.
Part of the game requires the players to build their own world, but another important aspect to the game is something one might learn in a microeconomics class.
“Kids are learning about money on a lot of different levels in Minecraft,” says Joel Levin, co-founder of Manhattan-based TeacherGaming, a firm that works with educators to use videogames as teaching tools. “There are basic currencies, like emeralds that you dig up and can trade with villagers. There are exchange rates, because certain items are worth more than others. Then players have to think about whether to spend money right away, or save it and get something more rewarding later on. These are analogous to the financial decisions people are making in the real world all the time.”
Kids playing the game may not realize it, or be able to explain using proper terminology, but they are learning important life lessons. These include how to start from nothing; how to protect your assets; how to network and make connections; and how to monetize your skills. These are all things needed in order to excel in the world of Minecraft and the real world alike.
About a month ago. Mojang, the company that created Minecraft, was purchased by Microsoft for the price of $2.5 billion.
To some that may seem like a risky decision, but the game reportedly earned $129 million in profits last year – and that’s purely game sales. Minecraft has been largely successful with merchandising and Microsoft has the means to help build that up, writes Siobhan Keogh for The New Zeland Herald.
This is also a strategic move for Microsoft because it allows them to tap into a younger market. Microsoft hasn’t had a hit game since the Halo franchise, but even that game is more geared towards an older audience, reports the Washington Examiner.
Now the biggest concern is if Microsoft will be able to keep Minecraft’s loyal fans happy.
An eleven-year-old girl named Lauren wrote a letter to Microsoft expressing her concerns:
“I am worried concerning the future of Minecraft, and I hope Microsoft will keep it the way it is, but with regular updates and perhaps less crashing, as crashes can make the game go awry. My hope is that Microsoft will keep everything working and updated so that fans can enjoy the game as usual.”
Gartner analyst, Brian Blaus says there should be no cause for concern since Microsoft has game industry experience including the Xbox and various video games.