One of the most engrossing virtual worlds in the video game industry may, once again, become a bona fide virtual reality. And that could be dangerously addictive in its awesomeness.
Minecraft developer Markus Persson is no longer upset about the acquisition of virtual reality hardware developer Oculus by Facebook for $2 billion in March. Accomplished programmer John Carmack, famous for his work with id Software on developing first person perspective technology and a current Oculus employee, was quick to seize the opportunity and try to reboot a Minecraft project for the Oculus rig.
Minecraft is engrossing because the entire world is interactive. Flowers, blocks of dirt, trees, stone, almost everything that can be mined and stored may serve a purpose at some point. The world is malleable to the player’s ideas, and that makes it easy to project oneself into the world. The dangers of game's Survival mode, in which players have to stave off dangerous creatures as they build resources, and the requisite hyper-attentive to the environment turn the engagement up exponentially.
Adding virtual reality to Minecraft sounds like a no-brainer. The idea of hearing the hiss of a Creeper, and turning your head to find yourself starting face-to-face with the deadliest of enemies in Minecraft, sounds delightfully terrifying.
Minecraft’s creator, Swedish developer Persson, was a supporter of the Oculus Rift to the point where he was considering the development of a free version of Minecraft to promote the VR project.
When Facebook acquired Oculus, many inthe video game industry feared that Facebook would take the hardware's development out of the video game sphere and into the social media world. Persson was upset for more personal reasons, and pulled his support for porting Minecraft to Oculus.
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
Now that Markuss has made peace with Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, adding virtual reality to Minecraft has again become a possibility. This is great news for Minecraft players and supporters of Oculus. If there’s a game that could inspire mainstream consumers (versus mostly hardcore PC gamers) to adopt the virtual reality rig, it’s Minecraft.