When I first heard about Minecraft, it was how its creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, had made an outlandish amount of money through PayPal. In 2010, a few months after putting the unfinished version of his game up for sale, the Swedish developer had raked in more than €600,000. The cash came in so quickly that the payment processor eventually froze his account to prevent fraud. Almost exactly four years later, that massive take would pale in comparison to what Microsoft paid for Notch’s company — an astounding $2.5 billion.
Why Minecraft is Good for Kids
Parents often ask, “Is Minecraft bad for my child?”. The answer is no! This is one of the few games that pairs the entertainment factor of a video game with the growth and development of important skills like critical-thinking. Still not convinced? Check out these ten concrete reasons why Minecraft isn’t your typical video game and how kids can benefit from playing it.
- You can play with your child. There’s no reason you can’t play Minecraft with your child, either watching what he or she does (and monitoring for safety), or play in multiplayer mode alongside your child. You can work as a team and even bond over the game.
- You can keep play private. If you’re concerned about who your child is playing with, you can limit her or his play to single mode — he or she plays alone. You can also join a server where you know all the players or create your own server, and invite only people you know, like friends from school or family members, to play with your child.
- Minecraft develops your child’s creativity. Minecraft isn’t just about stacking and unstacking blocks. Encourage your kids to build something learned in school, like a Scottish castle or an Egyptian pyramid. Or create an entire world from their imagination.
- You can keep Minecraft nonviolent. If you don’t want your child fighting off creepers and other monsters, you can set Minecraft to peaceful mode which eliminates all hostile mobs from the game.
- Your child can learn another language. Want to expose your child to another language? Set Minecraft to a foreign language — like German, French, or Japanese!
- Your child can master useful skills. A lot of Minecrafters learn useful skills that can lead to future jobs. How about programming to create mods for Minecraft? Or discovering the intricacies of architecture to build houses? Or engineering to hook up an electric lamp or rig a door to open as you approach it? Engineering, design, and architecture are all realistic skills that can be learned and developed within the game and jump start exciting real-world careers!
- Minecraft is relatively inexpensive. The game itself doesn’t cost much and you can even have your child pay for it through allowance, teaching them the importance of saving money! Due to the simplicity of graphics, you don’t need a super expensive and advanced computer to run it on either. It can even be played on other devices like tablets!
- Boredom doesn’t come easy. There is an infinite number of worlds in Minecraft for your kids to explore. Have you explored all you wanted in one world? Find or create another world to explore. Some servers have their own unique themes (underwater, pets only, etc.) that make the options literally endless.
- Your child can learn to think strategically. In Minecraft, you have to learn how to build things — something as simple as a shelter to some something as complicated as an entire village. Your child has to learn how to gather the materials and manage the inventory to complete the challenges.
- Minecraft is a cooler version of Legos. Do you have fond memories of playing Legos, building elaborate buildings and landscapes, then breaking it all down and starting over? Minecraft is, on its face, a 21st century version of Legos.