On the back of this evening’s announcement of an Oculus VR acquisition by Facebook, the industry has been chipping in with their thoughts on the deal.
Markus “Notch” Persson the creator of the mighty Minecraft was quick to respond to the news on Twitter and he’s not exactly enthusiastic about the deal.
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.
— Notch (@notch) March 25, 2014
Since then he’s posted a very lengthy update on his blog which details the circumstances of his reaction. Persson recently took a trip to see Oculus to discuss the possibility of bringing Minecraft to the Oculus Rift.
As backer of the original Kickstarter campaign, Persson like many gamers got caught up in the excitement surrounding the new hardware. It was all about chipping in to make the Rift a reality. He set to work on game prototypes but Dev Kit 1 had its problems so they were put down and he moved on to other projects.
Persson was recently invited to visit Oculus to see their latest tech and the changes that had been made to the headware. He was impressed with what he saw but still felt Minecraft would be a tough game to bring to the Rift as it’s very “motion based” and it “relies a lot on GUI”. He thought that possibly a different version of Minecraft for the Rift could be created
That was two weeks ago. However, after today’s aquisition news Persson has decided that he doesn’t want to bring Minecraft to the Rift.
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.
There are a lot of unhappy Rift Kickstarter backers on the Internet and Persson is just one of them:
And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.
TRION’s CEO Scott Hartsman posted this on Facebook this evening which some day may not be too far from the truth.
FBOculus year 1: “The APIs are all free! Make great experiences! Build up lots of players!”
FBOculus year 3: “Oh. You wanted to reach *all* of your players? Sure! Here’s the rates for expanding beyond 1-4% of what you built for us.”
No doubt we’ll see more reactions on this deal in the hours ahead.