[Update] Notch Cancels Oculus Rift Version Of Minecraft
Update: Following his note on Twitter about canceling Minecraft for Oculus, Mojang founder Markus "notch" Persson elaborated his position on his personal blog. He recounts his recent trip to Oculus headquarters, which was a backer reward for funding the Oculus Rift Kickstarter at the $10,000 level.
"What I saw was every bit as impressive as you could imagine," he writes. "They had fixed all the major issues, and all that remained was huge design and software implementation challenges. My head started spinning with potential applications and how to deal with all the issues (how do you do gui? how do you deal with locomotion? what input do you use? what happens if the player leans far enough forward to clip into a wall? how do you prevent vr induced existential crisis?)"
As Persson mentioned on Twitter, he doesn't trust Facebook. He explains why in his blog post.
"Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts," Persson writes. "Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers."
He goes on to acknowledge that social might be a great use of VR technology (business meetings and virtual cinemas are two examples), but says unequivocally that he does not want to work in that space. Persson reinforces his interest in virtual reality, but is clear that he will pursue it in another way.
"I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook," he states. "Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me."
Persson concludes by wishing both parties well after stating that he feels his $10,000 funding was simply used to build value for a Facebook acquisition. According to the original Kickstarter, the deliverables for Persson's tier ($5,000 and higher) were 10 developer kits, support evaluation, Doom 3 BFG, the trip to the Oculus offices, and a variety of collectible items (t-shirt, poster, etc.). You can read the entire post on Persson's blog.
While some people are still trying to figure out all of the implications of Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus VR, the situation is pretty clear to others. It has influenced at least one gaming decision, with Mojang's Markus "Notch" Persson pulling out of a potential deal with Oculus for the VR version of Minecraft.
The news comes via Twitter, where Persson reveals that he scuttled talks about bringing Mojang's hit to the Rift.
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
Of course, industrious gamers can still work up their own mods to get the game working on the VR headset, but it doesn't look like an official release is forthcoming.
The purchase puts indie developers in a strange place; many love the Oculus Rift, but potentially hate being associated with Facebook. I wouldn't be surprised to see even more cancelled Oculus projects in the coming days; they were started with the assumption that the Rift was a gaming device, but with Facebook expanding the scope, one has to wonder how central video games will be in the company's long-term strategy.