If you think video games are just mindless fun, think again. Microsoft recently paid $2.5 billion to acquire Mojang, the maker of Minecraft, a game that’s outrageously popular with kids around the world.
The huge value placed on the business offers a big lesson in finance, but that’s hardly the only way that Minecraft teaches about money. The game itself is chock-full of important lessons, says Jesse Stay, who co-authored “Minecraft for Dummies” with his 12-year-old son Thomas.
Stealth financial lessons
“Budgeting, trading, supply and demand, and understanding the value of what you own are ideas that are at the core of Minecraft,” says Stay. “Kids are learning finance and they don’t even realize it’s happening.”
Unlike games with specific narratives or fixed objectives, Minecraft is what’s known as an open-world, or “sandbox,” game. That means players are free to explore, gather resources and build whatever worlds and structures their imaginations can dream up.
According to the game’s makers, more than 19 million people have downloaded Minecraft for PC and Mac. Players are Minecrafting on platforms ranging from Xbox and Playstation gaming consoles to Amazon tablets and mobile phones. Check out how they’re learning about money along the way.