The fallout begins: Notch, the creator of smash-hit Minecraft, announced on Twitter that he’s canceling development of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift since it’s being acquired by Facebook. He’s even gone so far as to call Facebook “creepy.”
As covered by Kotaku, Notch did mention that there’s an existing mod to play Minecraft on the Oculus Rift, but he has bowed out of developing a version specifically for the Oculus Rift. Rest assured, there will be other VR headsets, and it’s a possibility that a Mojang-developed version of Minecraft may appear on one of those, but this just adds fuel to the internet fire raging on over this acquisition.
Notch posted on his blog about the acquisition:
Of course, they wanted Minecraft. I said that it doesn’t really fit the platform, since it’s very motion based, runs on java (that has a hard time delivering rock solid 90 fps, especially since the players build their own potentially hugely complex levels), and relies a lot on GUI. But perhaps it would be cool to do a slimmed down version of Minecraft for the Oculus. Something free, similar to the Minecraft PI Edition, perhaps? So I suggested that, and our people started talking to their people to see if something could be done.
And then, not two weeks later, Facebook buys them.
Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.
Don’t get me wrong, VR is not bad for social. In fact, I think social could become one of the biggest applications of VR. Being able to sit in a virtual living room and see your friend’s avatar? Business meetings? Virtual cinemas where you feel like you’re actually watching the movie with your friend who is seven time zones away?
But I don’t want to work with social, I want to work with games.
Fortunately, the rise of Oculus coincided with competitors emerging. None of them are perfect, but competition is a very good thing. If this means there will be more competition, and VR keeps getting better, I am going to be a very happy boy. I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. 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.
And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.
I have the greatest respect for the talented engineers and developers at Oculus. It’s been a long time since I met a more dedicated and talented group of people. I understand this is purely a business deal, and I’d like to congratulate both Facebook and the Oculus owners. But this is where we part ways.
If you want to experience Minecraft in VR, there’s an excellent mod that does this. It’s called Minecrift, and you can find it here.
You can read the full post here.