Minecraft went from an open beta to a household phenomenon seemingly overnight, but there is so much more the block-based game is capable of.
Develop an indie game, then sell it off for billions of dollars: it’s the dream for many indie game developers, made into a reality for one Markus “Notch” Persson. Persson’s luck struck far before Minecraft was ever officially “out”. Garnering international popularity while still in its beta phase, the block-based building and adventure game struck into something raw in its audience’s imagination.
Persson’s luck struck long before Minecraft was ever officially “out”. Garnering international popularity while still in its beta phase, the block-based building and adventure game struck into something raw in its audience’s imagination.
— Minecraft (@Minecraft) August 17, 2017
The desire to explore and shape a procedurally-generated world with no end didn’t just strike a chord with gamers, it played them like a symphony.
The success and resulting global phenomenon of spin-off toys, books, and every conceivable form of paraphernalia drew the gaze of tech giant Microsoft like a moth to a flame.
The behemoth didn’t linger for long before it scooped up Mojang Studios and the Minecraft license to the tune of 2.5 billion. From the moment their pens hit the contract paper, it was clear that Microsoft saw more in Minecraft than just a fun diversion for young children… and how right they were.
The freedom of creation that the cube-based world lends itself to is simple, but incredibly powerful. Furthermore, the basic circuit-logic that is featured in the game through the ‘Redstone’ system functions as an incredibly effective way to teach players the basics of how logic functions in programming.
With such tools at its disposal, Minecraft was always poised to be something bigger, but its implementation in the classroom is possibly its largest success.
It didn’t take long for teachers of all grades to catch on to the amazing potential within the world of Minecraft. Being readily accessible, inexpensive, and performance-effective on many computers, the software began to be utilized to teach children basic shapes, architecture, and even rudimentary economics through bartering with other students.
Yet still, true to its sandbox nature, Minecraft can be whatever the teachers and students want it to be. It can be moulded into the perfect virtual field trip, tailor-made for each outing.
This capability for unbound creativity is not only giving teachers a way to make learning for student’s fun, It’s also ensuring that their students are all that much more likely to retain that information – because they had fun learning it.
— Minecraft (@Minecraft) August 15, 2017
Whilst the massive online community that loves nothing more than to cook up the next zaniest idea for a private server remains, the future of games like Minecraft lie firmly with one foot in the classroom.
With a portal to a virtual realm where imagination is the only limitation, one would be hard-pressed to make an argument against it. Truly, with the advent of VR headsets, the “gaming” industry is beginning to look more like one of endless simulated realities and less of light diversions, full of flashing lights.
Minecraft will likely never see the end of development. Even though the official release has come and gone, Mojang – with the backing of Microsoft – has been toiling endlessly to improve their already supreme platform. Who knows – maybe in several decades the very concept of “school” as a physical destination may be virtual.