Minecraft Creator Creeped Out by Deal, Won’t Port Game to Oculus
In response to the Facebook acquisition of Oculus VR, Inc., creator Markus “Notch” Persson won’t be developing an Oculus version of Minecraft anymore.
In a lengthy diatribe on his website, Persson detailed the reasoning behind his decision to pull support from the recently announced Oculus version of Minecraft. Though the game was barely in its earliest stages of development, that’s about as far as Mojang will take the project.
“Of course, they wanted Minecraft,” Persson wrote. “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.”
This was two weeks before Facebook and Oculus announced the $2 billion deal that went down on Tuesday night. It was also before Sony and other tech companies announced plans of their own to explore the virtual reality space. While likely not the mitigating factor that led to the buyout (a deal this large could not happen with just a few days of negotiations), seeing bigger, more established companies vying for the same piece of the VR pie certainly helped facilitate the hastiness of the deal. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with Oculus’ decision.
“Fortunately, the rise of Oculus coincided with competitors emerging,” Persson added. “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.”
As is his right, Persson has decided he won’t support the platform as it stands now with Facebook behind it. While he views VR as a definite viable place for social integration to exist, he’s interested in games, not the social or business practices associated (justly or unjustly) with Facebook. In fact, the only place in which we question Persson’s decision is in one statement.
“And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition,” Persson stated. It’s a correct statement. Persson’s investment was in the crowdsourcing stage of Oculus’ life, where all backers were offered was an end product. At that time, there was no talk of Oculus expanding through buyout, so in that regard, Persson is right. However, we have to disagree with his assertion that his investment was nothing more than bait for bigger fish. He didn’t fund the creation of a company; he funded the creation of the company’s product. Kickstarter backers don’t have the rights of investors to question the business decisions made by those at the actual company. At least when the product as promised is delivered, which in this case, it was.
It’s a shame there won’t be an official Minecraft port on Oculus VR, as the incredibly popular game would surely have been a fascinating experience. Perhaps instead of outright abandoning the project, Persson might have been better off waiting to see just how this deal would pan out for Oculus, and what true involvement Facebook might have. But, as is his right as a content creator, he can do what he wants with his product. Just like Oculus.