It seems legendary programmer and Oculus Consulting CTO John Carmack has tried to bring Minecraft to every Oculus headset in existence. That includes Oculus Quest, and although we still don’t have a proper port, it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying.
Responding to a question about why there’s still no Minecraft for Quest, Carmack responded that he’s actually already implemented a version on the standalone 6DOF headset, but for some reason it just didn’t work out.
“I had it running with full position tracking, but we never got the schedules aligned to be able to take it into production,” Carmack says in a recent tweet. “You could still make yourself sick bounding up and down around the terrain, but walking around was great.
From as far back as 2015, Carmack has considered Minecraft in VR his “quest” of sorts. Unfortunate wording aside, it sounds like internal conflict back-burnered any chance of the block-based sandbox game from arriving on the 6DOF standalone.
It’s a pity, considering even the now largely obsolete Samsung Gear VR has its own bespoke version of the game, which was released in the 2016 heyday of the 3DOF mobile VR headset.
Even Oculus Go, which benefits from many games in Gear VR’s library, doesn’t have its own version of Minecraft. This, according to findings by VR Scout, was based on technical matters at the time. Here’s what a Minecraft developer had to say about Go and Quest support back in October 2019:
“One of the major things holding up the Go was a library dependency which my team has been adding for the upcoming 1.14 update. That’s necessary but not sufficient – when we add a new platform, we have to support it fully in our daily testing, both with hardware and more importantly with time from everyone working on it. The Quest will be extra engineering work above and beyond the Go. I can’t promise either version until they officially have the green light.”
There may still be a glimmer of hope for Quest users, dashed Carmackian implementations notwithstanding. As the platform matures, Oculus will need to continue funneling system-moving games onto the Oculus Store.
It very well might have come down to the company’s need to keep a tight grip on Quest’s official content library when it first launched in May 2019. The company’s recent bid to let Quest developers publish their apps through an upcoming alternative app distribution channel, which may function as an early access store or Oculus Share-style platform, is an interesting proposition. Maybe a potential ‘experimental’ version of Minecraft could land there, which would remove it from needing to have the high bar for comfort which Oculus has exercised as a content gatekeeper.
Of course, we’re not holding our collective breaths, but at least we know there’s a version sitting at Oculus offices ready to go now.