At long last Minecraft, one of the most popular games on earth, has officially arrived on the Oculus Rift in beta form as part of a new beta update for the Windows 10 edition.
Minecraft VR support finally officially today via the latest Windows 10 beta update for the title. You can grab a copy via the official Windows 10 store, or via the Oculus Store, where it appeared for the Oculus Rift earlier today. Existing owners will receive the update for free.
Lagging behind the already available Gear VR Edition which appeared in April, the PC version with Oculus Rift support arrives sporting features largely identical to the mobile VR version. Most notably, is the inclusion of an in-game switchable “virtual living room” mode, which allows the player to pull out of the default fully immersive view and into a less ‘intense’ windowed mode. The transitions for this whilst in game are particularly well handled as it happens and, although I suspect most may eschew the feature, there’s no argument that it’s present isn’t a necessity considering Minecraft‘s huge potential audience. Comfort features to ease player locomotion, specifically the implementation of ‘stepped’ character rotation, where your view shifts in 22.5 degree increments.
Impressively, this new beta edition now allows cross-platform play on for users of Rift, Gear VR, iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices.
Launched alongside the new beta edition is a short film which sheds light on how team Minecraft at Mojang formed another special team including members from Oculus in an effort to help guide the VR version to launch. “The development has been a very iterative process,” says Saxs Persson from the Minecraft team, “we looked at pretty much all controls and how you play Minecraft and tried to figure out what is the best way that we can do this in VR.”
Intial impressions are good, albeit somewhat familiar. Having played Minecrift, the unofficially modded version originally built for use with the Oculus Rift DK1 headset years ago, it was no surprise how great the title can look when viewed immersively. A similar mod called Vivecraft also appeared more recently for the HTC Vive, along with room-scale support too.
Minecrift however has now ceased to exist in response to a request from Mojang and in light of this new, official version appearing. One of Minecrift’s developers confirmed as much via Reddit today saying “I received notice a few days ago that I can no longer use the name “Minecrift” or the minecraft-vr.com domain.” Apparently, although Mojang objected only to the use of those particular names and domains, the Minecrift team decided, after many years of work, it was time to throw in the towel. “Admittedly, StellaArtois and I have burned ourselves out and there hasn’t been much development for the last year, which is why we’re shutting down our mod rather than completely refactor it to remove the “Minecrift” name.”
Minecraft Windows 10 Edition Beta can be downloaded for free either via the Windows 10 Store or the Oculus Store right now with an upgrade to the full version priced at $9.99.