After a few missteps and obstacles, fans of Minecraft finally got the confirmation that they had been waiting for from Facebook – Minecraft on Oculus is happening. The creators of this highly popular game spoke of their plans to bring the addictive gameplay to virtual reality back in 2015, but now the game is officially set to become available when Facebook’s Oculus Rift launches in the spring.
Facebook and Minecraft officials are pinning a lot of hopes on this new venture.
The announcement that Minecraft would be available for Oculus Rift came at Samsung’s Unpacked press conference this February. At the event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg made an appearance where he spoke about the importance of virtual reality and the company’s commitment to that area. This means 200 gaming apps in development for the upcoming launch of Oculus Rift, with Minecraft leading the way.
The decision to choose Minecraft as one of the leading titles for Oculus Rift was pretty much a no-brainer for all those involved. Facebook’s recent acquisition needed to be sure of a must-have title on its launch that would showcase the potential of the product, and there is no game that is better suited to the occasion than Minecraft.
John Carmack, Oculus Rift’s own chief technology officer, has been honest about the lack of content available for VR and hopes that the “infinite playability” of Minecraft will add depth and intrigue where other titles are lacking. As this is the most popular PC game of all time, it is likely that many fans will jump at the chance to immerse themselves in this world via VR.
Minecraft on Oculus is the next logical step in the game’s progression into VR.
The great news for Minecraft fans is that they don’t have to look too hard to get an idea of what this new Oculus Rift version of the game might offer. In 2015, Microsoft brought out a prototype of their own VR headset – HoloLens – that included a short demo for a building game that did not carry the Minecraft title, but certainly had a lot of familiar elements. By putting on the headset, test subjects were able to see a blocky landscape and castle, set out right in front of them on the table, and explore this world in entirely new ways. Players could dig holes in the floor, or blow them up with Minecraft style TNT, and be surrounded by a strange new world with all the required elements. One main difference between the technology is the requirement of an Xbox controller for The Oculus Rift version rather than hand gestures. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this detracts from the immersive experience.
Though the Microsoft prototype isn’t a crystal clear indication of what to expect from the upcoming version of Minecraft on Oculus, it does prove that this game has great potential for VR and is sure to be a hit for Facebook and Minecraft’s developers. Any chance to dive deep into the heart of Minecraft and create a 3D, virtual world will be welcomed by experienced players.