Virtual reality aims to change the world but not through Facebook. A legendary father of Minecraft Markus (Notch) Persson has published a post on his blog with very high appraisals concerning Oculus VR company and virtual reality helmet he bought through a Kickstarter. The news about the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook became a great disappointment for him.
A distaste for the social network appeared to be so substantial that Notch has canceled a deal to develop Minecraft for Oculus Rift. Explaining the reasons for such action Notch indicated that Facebook caused a feeling of disgust in his mind and characterized Facebook’s motives as too muddy and unstable.
Markus Persson said that he visited Oculus office two weeks ago. What he saw has surpassed all the expectations. During the past couple of years a team of engineers managed to overcome almost all the major difficulties. Only implementation and software problems remained. Development is clearly close to the end. He feels that in ten years we will recall the problems like what to do if the player in VR helmet stepped too far ahead and can hit the wall in a way we now recall problems of the GUI implementation in PC graphical games.
On his blog Notch writes it was natural they (Oculus) wanted Minecraft. Notch answered the game is not very suitable for this platform, because there is need to move too much and it runs on Java (it is difficult to provide 90 fps, especially if the player has created an immense world), moreover, it relies heavily on the GUI. Although it is possible to make a small prototype of Minecraft for Oculus with limited abilities. Something completely free, like Minecraft PI Edition. So a preliminary agreement has been reached and developers from both sides started negotiations.
“And then, not two weeks later, Facebook buys them”, Notch continues. “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?”
Persson has clearly announced he wanted to work with games and not with a social network. He still has a desire to be a part of VR but it’s impossible to work with Facebook. A developer also hopes much for a competition that is likely to make a VR technology far more better.
“And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition”, he emphazises.
Interestingly, John Carmack has tweeted that he was coding in the same way as last week. He also hopes that a deal with Facebook will help avoid scaling crisis for virtual reality technology. Probably John implies that instead of a high-quality niche product there is a risk to end with a poor-quality fake for the mass market.