That was fast. Within an hour of Facebook buying Oculus VR, Mojang founder Markus “Notch” Persson announced that the company will abandon a planned virtual reality version of its hit game Minecraft.
The reason? “Facebook creeps me out,” Persson tweeted.
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
An unofficial VR adaptation of Minecraft, called Minecrift, is currently still available on the Oculus Share store. Response to the game has been very positive, with Minecrift averaging 4.4 stars out of 5 from developer-reviewers. One Oculus Rift developer commented on the Share store that Minecrift is “one of the best Oculus experiences you can have.”
In an interview with Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell last year, Mitchell said Minecrift was especially popular at the then-30-person company’s Irvine, Calif. headquarters.
“We have the families in the office, they bring in their kids, and you’ve got 10 kids playing Minecraft in our conference room on the Rift, on the same server,” Mitchell said. “That shows you that there is this huge audience of all sorts of people.”
As both a games platform and a distributor through its mobile and Web ads for games, Facebook maintains relationships with many game developers, but Oculus is its first clear commitment away from the world of mobile and social games, which tend to skew toward casual gameplay and smaller teams. It will be interesting to see how other established game companies similar to Mojang react to the buy.
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