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Gaming’s Role to Connect and Support Learning During COVID-19

Minecraft Learning

PRESS RELEASE

Yesterday, Xbox and Microsoft published two separate blog posts about efforts to support people during COVID-19:

  • Xbox Wire published a post authored by Phil Spencer that shared perspective on gaming’s role to empower human connections and learning through play, especially in wake of COVID-19. The blog touched on the Minecraft educational content announcement and detailed how family settings can help support balanced gaming.
  • Minecraft.net detailed educational content that will be available for free via the Minecraft Marketplace to support learning amid school closures.

From the comfort of your home, you can tour the International Space Station or even explore the inside of a human eye.

Also included are ten worlds from the Marketplace creator community, where you can explore renewable energy, marine biology, Greek history, and more.

These worlds have now launched and are free to download through June 30, 2020. Anyone with Minecraft for Bedrock platforms can find these worlds by launching Minecraft and visiting the in-game store.

For more information, you can read the entirety of Phil Spencer’s blog post below, or on Xbox WireYou can also find more details on the new educational content added to Minecraft on Minecraft.net.

A Message to the Gaming Community on What We’re Doing to Help Today

by Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox

We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people around the world and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Here at Microsoft, we’re constantly asking ourselves what we can do to support people during this challenging time. To me, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all living and learning through this together. 

I have previously stated that I believe gaming has a unique power to bring people together, to entertain, to inspire and connect us, and I believe that’s even more true under these unique circumstances. Many are looking to gaming to remain connected with their friends while practicing social distancing, and we are seeing an unprecedented demand for gaming from our customers right now.

With hundreds of millions of kids at home due to coronavirus-related school closures more kids are going online to spend time with their friends, explore online worlds and learn through play. Families are trying to navigate the need to help their children with distance learning and balance that with taking time to have fun.  That’s why we announced today that we are adding a new Education category to the Minecraft Marketplace with free educational content players and parents can download.

The educational content we’ve curated lets players explore the International Space Station though a partnership with NASA, learn to code with a robot, visit famous Washington D.C. landmarks, find and build 3D fractals, learn what it’s like to be a marine biologist, and so much more. This is launching for free download today and will be available through June 30, 2020.

With so many turning to gaming, helping everyone stay safer online is also a top priority for us. This is why we provide family settings that help parents choose the screen time limits, content filters, purchase limits, communication and sharing settings that are right for their families. While kids may be home from school, family settings can help balance gaming with offline schoolwork and other responsibilities.

There are also some ways that we can bring brand-new players into the fold. For example, our Copilot feature can be especially helpful for children, new gamers or those who need unique configurations to play, allowing two controllers to play as if they were one.

We understand the important role gaming is playing right now to connect people and provide joy in these isolating and stressful times, and our teams are working diligently to ensure we can be there for our players. To that end, we are actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing the service for our customers worldwide and accommodating for new growth and demand.

While these are unprecedented times we are living in, I have no doubt that we’ll come through this experience stronger than ever.

Stay safe and be good to one another.

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