mojang minecraft notch oculus rift virtual reality
Markus “Notch” Persson and Jens “Jeb” Bergensten pose with the Oculus Rift DK1.

After initially speaking out against Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR back in March, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson is ready to move on.

Despite backing the Oculus Rift Kickstarter for $10,000 and subsequently being one of the first people to get his hands on the Oculus Rift DK1, the founder of development studio Mojang and creator of the wildly popular Minecraft (2011), Persson quickly spoke out against the Facebook purchase of Oculus VR, saying that the social media giant “creeps me out.”

He expanded his tweet into a full blog post on his personal blog:

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.

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.

And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.

I have the greatest respect for the talented engineers and developers are Oculus. It’s been a long time since I met a more dedicated and talented group of people. I understand this is purely a business deal, and I’d like to congratulate both Facebook and the Oculus owners. But this is where we part ways.

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey responded shortly thereafter. “He had the Rift for a year and had not even tried the Minecraft mod (which is really good), much less done any exploration work. I think Notch is a super cool guy, but it is really easy to “cancel” a project that was never started as an out,” he wrote in a Facebook comment.

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Persson had promised Oculus Rift support for his in-development title 0x10c, but it was cancelled before the Facebook spat.

Nearly six months later, the dust has firmly settled and Persson says he’s over it. I must say that I’m happy to see Persson demonstrate that he’s not afraid to admit when he’s wrong, if only more people could manage the same.

Does this mean we’ll see a version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift DK2? It certainly opens the option, but seeing as Persson has handed development of the game over to Jens “Jeb” Bergensten way back in 2011, it’s unlikely Persson’s call. Not to mention that there’s already a fantastic Oculus Rift mod for Minecraft with DK2 support on the way.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • mptp

    I think it’s relatively clear what’s happened: Markus wasn’t on the VR bandwagon a while ago and reacted to the Facebook acquisition the way a lot of people reacted. Since then, and since seeing that Oculus is still doing good stuff, I suspect he’s suddenly realised that VR is legitimately happening, and that Minecraft needs to be a part of it.

    I agree that it’s unlikely that Jeb is going to drop whatever is currently being worked on to add official Rift support just because Markus thinks it’s now a good idea. Adding true Rift support would require more than just the rendering changes. Things like being knocked back when struck by an enemy would have to go, to avoid disorientation, for example. If additional control devices were to be added like STEM or Hydra, various player interactions could be vastly improved to capitalise on this.

    However, I think that at the end of the day, it would be insane for Mojang not to make this decision. Whether it be through working with and integrating Minecrift, or developing Rift support from the ground-up themselves, I think it has to happen.
    Minecraft is the best selling PC game of all time. Heaps and heaps of gamers have played, or play Minecraft, so the news of official support would change the VR space in the gamine world forever.

    Oh, did I mention that if Pocket edition were to get support for a Cardboard-like viewer, you now have one of the better mobile games (that is marred primarily by how much of a hassle it is to look around) available in VR to anyone willing to drop $20 on a cheap HMD.
    It would be a total game changer I think for VR in the casual gaming space, and would get tons of people on-side.

    • Druss

      No offense, but for something that is “very clear” to you, you have it very wrong.

      Here are the facts:
      – Notch was very excited about VR from the very beginning. (You read the part were it says he backed the Oculus Rift Kickstarter for $10,000? And the part where he was building a game with support for the Rift?)

      – Notch, like millions of others like myself, does not like Facebook and anything it stands for.

      – Notch, like millions of others like myself, overreacted to the merger.

      – He still believed in VR, which is evident even in the blog post above.

      – He realized his errors and admitted fault like a sir.

      Hope that makes things even clearer for you.

      • Druss

        I hate the fact that there is no “Edit button”…

        • Druss

          “Edit” button

      • mptp

        You know what, I totally forgot about how he backed the original kickstarter for $10,000.
        My bad. :D

        I still stand by what I said about how important Minecraft would be for VR though. Even more relevant now that John Carmack has straight up told notch that Oculus will work with Mojang to add perfect official support. :P

  • Curtrock

    1 word. “Creativerse”

  • Anyone

    Notch may be over it.
    A lot of other people are not and there is another lawsuit against Facebook:

    20.000+ people joined this lawsuit already.
    Charges consist of breaching of European privacy rights without consent of user among others.

    Even in the USA, where privacy very often seems to be considered to be obsolete and only useful to terrorists, there is a lawsuit against Facebook regarding privacy (charge: the scanning, analyzing and selling of “private” message data):

    What lawsuits will Oculus have to deal with?

  • Alkapwn

    If that’s his official apology, I’m not sure he admitted his faults like a sir. Officially over being upset doesn’t sound like too much of an apology. I think he just realized how much of the pie he’d be missing out on if he continued down this road. He pretty much ZeniMax’d it, but unlike them, came to his senses.