Microsoft is adding to the building blocks of education. Those blocks just happen to be part of the hit video game Minecraft.
Microsoft is acquiring MinecraftEdu, a version of the game specifically tuned for classroom use, from Teacher Gaming LLC. Minecraft provides an infinite digital sandbox where players can create and explore worlds made of 3D blocks. Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not disclosed.
The MinecraftEdu deal is a follow-up to Microsoft's acquisition of Swedish-based Mojang, the maker of Minecraft, for $2.5 billion in September 2014. Minecraft has been one of the highest-selling paid mobile apps on Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant is continuing to invest heavily in gaming because it's a big money-maker, especially in the mobile space. Microsoft officials have also positioned Minecraft as one of the company's productivity software and services offerings aimed at the education market.
Based on MinecraftEdu, Microsoft plans to build out a "new and expanded" version of the game called Minecraft Education Edition. The company will launch a free trial of the product this summer.
"Minecraft Education Edition will be shaped by a growing community of educators throughout its development this spring and through the educator community online at http://education.minecraft.net," wrote Anthony Salcito, Microsoft's vice president of worldwide education, in a blog post Tuesday.
Until Minecraft Education Edition is ready, existing customers of MinecraftEdu can continue using the product as usual, according to a blog post on Teacher Gaming's site. Existing customers also will get a year free of Minecraft Education Edition once it is available.
Microsoft is not buying Teacher Gaming itself, only the MinecraftEdu line. Teacher Gaming will continue to do business in Finland and New York.
This story originally posted as "Microsoft acquires MinecraftEdu from Teacher Gaming" on ZDNet.