BUILD 2019: Cloud server for multiplayer available for Minecraft: Education Edition

One of the biggest benefits of using Minecraft in the classroom is the opportunity for students to collaborate on creative projects, whether engineering a theme park, designing a sustainable city or visualizing a story plot over weeks of class time. The Minecraft: Education Edition team is excited to kick-off a new partnership with Microsoft Azure to improve the multiplayer classroom experience for teachers and learners.

At Microsoft BUILD 2019, we announced that an official Minecraft: Education Edition VM is now available in the Azure Marketplace for customers licensed to use Minecraft: Education Edition with Office 365 Education accounts. This will enable educators in schools licensed to use Minecraft: Education Edition to use a cloud server to host multiplayer worlds. The Minecraft VM will leverage powerful Azure cloud technology and help schools progress toward the digital transformation required for 21st century learning.

IT administrators and educators have been asking for a better multiplayer experience, including workarounds for device limitations and classroom management. Our team has taken this feedback and worked with Azure to develop a Minecraft VM solution.

The Azure VM will host the multiplayer world, instead of the student or teacher. So, if a teacher wants to setup a multiplayer world, they no longer need to host the world on their device or rely on a student to host. When a multiplayer world is hosted on Azure, students simply connect via an IP address, accessing their world when they need to.

The VM can be left online for as long as students are working in the world, so this could be used for class projects that span various days. This also enables educators and IT administrators to run Minecraft: Education Edition on devices that may not meet the performance demands of multiplayer. The Minecraft: Education Edition VM requires login with Office 365 Education – no other logins are needed – so students will still only be able to collaborate within their school’s tenant.

Deploying Minecraft: Education Edition virtual machine requires an Azure Subscription. Educators and School IT may get $200 in Azure credits through Azure Free Account. Verified students may also get $100 in Azure credits through Azure for Students. Unfamiliar with virtual machines? Start with this tutorial on how to deploy a virtual machine through the Azure Portal.

Our team sees the inspiring projects created by classmates in multiplayer Minecraft worlds, and we look forward to providing an easier experience for the educators who facilitate this 21st century learning.

For more information, read this post on the Azure blog.