The reaction from the Internet over Facebook buying Oculus VR has been all over the place. Some are saying it’s great for the Oculus VR guys as it now gives them the resources to build the platform they’ve always wanted. Others aren’t so happy and claim they’ve lost their indie cred by selling out to Facebook. Despite these varying reactions, it’s not like the Facebook deal led to any canceled games, right?
Notch unceremoniously announced on Twitter last night that Mojang was in talks with Oculus VR to bring Minecraft to the Oculus Rift. He canceled those talks upon hearing that Facebook bought the company. Why? It’s simple – Facebook “creeps” him out.
Okay, maybe it’s not as simple as that, but that’s all we had to go on until Notch wrote a lengthy blog post on the potential of virtual reality and his feelings on Facebook. In short, he’s not overly concerned with recent spying revelations or anything like that. Instead, he finds Facebook’s market motives “creepy” and not all that supportive of games. Here’s the relevant bit:
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.
Despite the Facebook deal, he has high hopes for virtual reality. He says that Oculus VR has already inspired competitors, like Sony’s Project Morpheus, and that he’ll gladly work on VR with one of them. He just doesn’t want to work with Facebook:
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.
It’s not until the end that we hear what may be the central reason for Notch canceling the deal with Oculus VR. In short, he may feel betrayed by the Facebook acquisition:
And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.
Well, there you have it. Minecraft will not be coming to the Oculus Rift in any official capacity. There are ways to play Minecraft on the VR headset, however, and Notch himself recommends Minecrift.
Image via Oculus VR/Minecrift