Yesterday a storm erupted on the web as Facebook bought Oculu Rift in a deal worth roughly $2 billion. Most people aren't too excited about this as they fear Facebook will take the VR headset technology in the wrong direction and now we hear that Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, has halted all talks with Oculus Rift. The founder of indie games developer Mojang planned to bring a version of Minecraft to Oculus but he says he cancelled the deal because Facebook creeps him out and he doesn't want to work with social but with games:
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.