Notch Says He’s Canceled Oculus Rift Minecraft Because Of Facebook

Notch Says He’s Canceled Oculus Rift Minecraft Because Of Facebook

The people at Oculus VR are doubtless pretty psyched that Facebook just bought their company for $US2 billion . Some game developers, not so much.

Among the displeased is Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, who tweeted that in light of the Facebook acquisition, he’s cancelled a deal he and his company Mojang were working on to bring Minecraft to Oculus VR.

We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.

— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014

Notch was also sure to point out that there IS an existing mod that lets you play Minecraft in Oculus Rift – it looks cool, though it’s not official. (Top image is taken from that mod.)

It’s worth keeping in mind that VR Minecraft could well still happen; in fact, it probably will. After all, there are always non-Oculus options for Mojang to pursue.

We’ve hit Mojang up to see if we can find out more about what happened, and will update this post if and when we hear back.

Update: In a lengthy new blog post, Persson has explained why he’s decided to part ways with Oculus. Here’s the bottom part, where he discusses the Facebook deal:

Of course, [Oculus] wanted Minecraft. I said that it doesn’t really fit the platform, since it’s very motion based, runs on java (that has a hard time delivering rock solid 90 fps, especially since the players build their own potentially hugely complex levels), and relies a lot on GUI. But perhaps it would be cool to do a slimmed down version of Minecraft for the Oculus. Something free, similar to the Minecraft PI Edition, perhaps? So I suggested that, and our people started talking to their people to see if something could be done.

And then, not two weeks later, Facebook buys them.

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 at 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.

Read the rest at Notch’s blog.


    • I hope so. I might not be the biggest minecraft fan but I do see why the game is so influential. Clearly it would’ve been a massive boon for the Occulus.

    • Undoubtedly we’ll see an Xbox one equivalent with whatever soon to be announced VR project they’re running with too.

      VR just ‘works’ so well with a controller in hand rather than a mouse and keyboard….

    • I wouldn’t think so, think about how Minecraft isn’t on steam because Notch doesn’t believe in a one store for all your PC games environment. I don’t think this is a sign that many games/devs will suddenly drop oculus support.

      • Actually, it’s because the future MC store will be incompatible with Steams own workshop system. Notch wants an in game marketplace where you can buy items from other players – Steam will only allow item trading and wants a cut of all transactions, which Notch said no to.

  • What a absolutely complete over reaction by Notch here – No wait and see how it goes, just straight up “Nup Facebook got involved with Oculus, can’t do this now” style of thinking from this guy,

    • Why?
      I don’t agree with Facebook’s business practices, so I refuse to do business with them. I think it shows a bit of backbone on Notch’s part.
      Why should he deal with a company whose main business model is at odds with his beliefs?

      • I posted this in the other thread, but I’d I’d like to see an article analysing the massive backlash from this.
        The comments on the Oculus developer site are damning and there is a lot of outrage and feelings of betrayal expressed. I would bet that Oculus weren’t expecting quite this level of response.
        Especially since the overwhelming number of responses are posted *from* Facebook accounts.
        I’d love an article looking at why the response has been so immediate and so vehement. It would be an interesting read.
        ‘m guessing it is mostly that this was a Kickstarter project, that a lot of the development so far has been open source, and people loved the idea of the young guy in his garage, realising the lost dream of VR and bringing it *directly* to the masses, with no big corporation pulling the strings.
        Built by a gamer, for gamers.
        Write me a thoughtful article on the severity of the backlash, I want to read it!

        (Fair disclosure: I’m not on Facebook as I don’t agree with how that company handles its users. I was an Oculus Rift developer up until today).

        • That would be a great read!

          It will take a while for the dust to settle and opinions to stabilise as it’s a pretty surprising announcement and initial reactions won’t be as well thought out. I think they could have definitely prepared a bit better for the PR backlash though, it was pretty obvious it was coming.

          (Fair disclosure: While I am reluctantly on Facebook for work reasons, I never use it as I don’t agree with how that company handles its users. I am an Oculus Rift developer today and will continue to be in the future, because VR is awesome!)

    • I won’t deal with Facebook either, I don’t like the company’s lack of ethics and brutal attempts to infringe on people’s privacy and steal their information. It doesn’t matter if it’s the best VR solution in the world, if it’s from a company like Facebook I won’t touch it.

    • Yeah it’s an immature over reaction, which is pretty normal for Notch. He speaks and acts before he thinks. He can be a bit silly at times, but it’s one of the reasons I like him.

      Oculus is where VR is going to live on the PC for the foreseeable future, Facebook or not. VR minecraft will happen (is happening) without Notch, that’s what makes the PC so great. He’s made his statement, but it doesn’t change anything.

  • Ah this is such disappointing immature bullshit. Fair enough if the negotiations end up going worse from here on out and it becomes a bad business decision, go ahead and cancel.

    But to immediately go ahead and cancel, that’s so stupid. That’s when Oculus’ failure will lie in the hands of devs, not Facebook.

    • If he cancels later, he loses more money. Why wouldn’t he wait and see where the dust settles before possibly jumping back on board? Given facebook change how the whole platform works for their benefit, no matter the outrage from their users or developers, why should he trust them? Facebook are all about monetising their users, they don’t care about their users or developers anymore.

  • I wonder how many Dev’s will do the same?
    Maybe this will kill the Rift, could be a HUGE waste of cash for bookface

    • I’ll be surprised if anyone else major drops out. Notch is in a unique position that he is rolling in dosh but doesn’t have any shareholders.
      Maybe Valve if they were working on something but I’d doubt Gabe cares too much.

      • well looking at the oculus forums, it seems to be about 50 / 50 some guys are cancelling there dev kit orders (or atleast posting to that tune) other think it could be good for VR as a whole
        I think this has FB has hurt Oculus brand for alot gamers and some game dev’s.
        the real question will be how they implement it the consumer product

        Either way with Sony hot on the heals of it and more VR coming, the OR isn’t the be all and end all for VR maybe thats why they sold hahaha

  • I figured it wouldn’t be long before game devs hopped off the Oculus Rift bandwagon.
    Sony will be pleased.

    I would’ve been happier to see Microsoft purchase Oculus Rift for PC and Xbox gaming.

    • Sony won’t be pleased at all if people stop developing for the Oculus Rift, it’s not a zero-sum game because they’re not competing against each other in the same space. The more developers making VR games on Oculus, the more games there will be for Sony’s VR headset. More games for the Oculus means more interest for VR in general, which would only help Sony. A rising tide lifts all boats.

  • It is pretty knee jerk, but at least he’s honest: he doesn’t like facebook and doesn’t want to do business or be associated with them. Fair enough.

    I’m not that big a fan of facebook, every day i’m getting closer and closer to getting rid of it completely, as it’s uses are becoming less and less evident.

    It’s worth noting that a similar thing has just happened with the Sydney Bienalle with a whole bunch of local and international artists pulling out as it was discovered that a big chunk of funding was coming from Transfield, the company who runs the Manus island detention centre for refugees (and others). The director of the Biennale in Sydney also resigned over the pressure the boycott created as he is also the chairman for Transfield. Pretty heavy.

  • Cause I’m sure noone could get minecraft working on an occulus once it’s out…..

    • Says right in the article that there is already a mod for it. Notch probably doesn’t even care either

  • Who’s to say that this was not forced onto the Oculus team? Remember the materials shortage a little while ago? That could have been Facebook buying up all their materials to try force their sale. I wouldn’t put it past Facebook to try that sort of thing.

    • I don’t think anyone said that, and notch didn’t say anything against the Oculus devs, just that he didn’t like facebook and he didn’t want to do business with them.

      Thats totally fair and its totally up to him who he does business with.

      • Facebook fanboy?!

        Read it again. I didn’t say anyone said that. I was just putting it out there for people to make their own opinions of. Not everything reported in the media is truth. Who is to say he hasn’t held his tongue to avoid breaching some contract?

        It’s called corporate espionage. It happens all the time.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!