University students graduate in official Minecraft ceremony

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University students unable to attend their graduation ceremony have turned to Minecraft to host an official replacement.

Students at UC Berkeley in California built a virtual version of their university campus – UC Blockley – and invited faculty and guests to host a ceremony for the class of 2020.

Lydia Winters, brand director at Minecraft developer Mojang, was one of several names from the world of gaming to give an address, alongside Twitch co-founder Justin Kan.

The ceremony rounded itself out with a rendition of Hail to California, sung via a Zoom screen full of students, as attendees threw their Minecraft avatar's virtual cap in the air.

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UC Berkley's virtual graduation ceremony occurred yesterday – the same day Minecraft itself celebrated its 11th birthday. As reported earlier today, Mojang gave itself a slight change of name and fresh logo to celebrate.

Minecraft has now sold more than 200m copies and has 126 million people playing monthly, Microsoft said in a blog post release this afternoon.

A suite of in-game educational content made free a month ago to help those with children currently unable to attend school has now been downloaded 50m times. It remains free until the end of June.

Minecraft multiplayer usage has spiked 40 per cent in the past month, with a 25 per cent increase in new players, according to The Verge.

Next up for the Minecraft brand overall is the release of the promising-looking Minecraft Dungeons on 26th May. Testing out the first few levels last month, I found it an unexpectedly wonderful genre hybrid. Here's how it looks:

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