Many will remember the now infamous Minecraft incident that surrounded the news of Oculus VR’s $2 billion USD acquisition by Facebook earlier in the year. Shortly after the deal was announced Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, the creator of the beloved series, announced that he had cancelled plans for a virtual reality (VR) version of Minecraft running on the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). Persson specifically cited the deal as the reason for the cancellation. Of course, the developer is no longer responsible for the franchise and it seems like members of Oculus VR are still keen to see it on the VR device.
At the very least that’s what Chief Technology Officer John Carmack wants. The legendary developer recently took to Twitter to ask: “Who do I have to convince at Mojang post-@notch that Minecraft PE on Gear VR would be awesome?” Last month it was revealed that Minecraft and its developer Mojang were to be purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Persson has since left the company in order to distance himself from the franchise.
Interestingly, Mojang’s Tommaso Checchi, who works on the mobile version of Minecraft dubbed Minecraft: Pocket Edition, replied to Carmack, stating: “send shiny hardware? 😀 well, actually we need to find the time to add controller support first. We’re pretty short on that!” Of course this would refer to the mobile version of the title. Carmack himself is currently working on Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based HMD, which explains his eagerness to bring it to that device over the Oculus Rift PC HMD.
Carmack replied noting that controller support would be needed but he would still be “happy to do a proof-of-concept VR port here so we could evaluate how navigation feels,” later suggesting a sort of spectator VR app in which players could watch others build while controller support was worked on. Checchi stated that he thought a port would feel ‘great’ and Carmack brought up the advantages of the untethered nature of Gear VR. The conversation ended with Checchi sharing his email address with Carmack.
It certainly sounds like progress could soon be made on Minecraft VR, then. Microsoft has confirmed in the past that it is committed to versions of the title outside of its own platforms, meaning the developer shouldn’t expect any trouble from its new owner about updating this version of the title, which runs on Google’s Android operating system (OS). VRFocus will continue to follow this story closely, reporting back with any further updates on Minecraft VR.