Oculus revealed that the popular world-building game will be one of the first games to be made available for the Oculus Rift when it launches into the mainstream market in early 2016.
Minecraft players have long given up the hope of playing their favorite game in virtual reality when Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson ditched his early efforts to create a Minecraft version for VR.
But Microsoft, who purchased Minecraft and its developer company Mojang from Persson in September 2014, surprised everybody at Oculus Connect 2 when it announced that Minecraft Windows 10 Edition will be one of the first games that will be made available for the Oculus Rift, as well as the second-generation Samsung Gear VR, next year.
Details were sparse about the specific launch date of the headset and the game, but Minecraft will be available for download from Microsoft's Windows 10 Store as soon as the Oculus Rift launches in the first quarter of 2016.
John Carmack, legendary creator of Doom and chief technology officer at the Facebook-owned Oculus, had been personally shipping Oculus Rift and Minecraft since early 2014, tweeting to Persson, who was still part of Mojang at the time, that all he had to do was “ship the source” and he would “make sure it runs well on you-know-what.”
Minecraft is a crucial addition to the Oculus Rift platform. While virtual reality in itself is something to look forward to, the lack of content ready for VR will not help convince mainstream consumers to purchase a new electronics device that is certain to cost a considerable sum.
“I think [Minecraft is] the single most important application that we can do for virtual reality, to make sure that we have an army of fanatic, passionate supporters that will advocate why VR is great,” Carmack said. “This is why you want to do some of it every single day. It's part of this infinite playability that we're currently lacking in our current set of titles. So this is a huge, huge win for me.”
With more than 70 million copies sold worldwide as of June 2015, Minecraft is the best-selling PC game to date and the third best-selling video game of all time, only behind Tetris and Wii Sports. Even if only 1 percent of all Minecraft players are interested in purchasing an Oculus Rift right away, that is still a good 700,000 customers picking up the VR headset at launch.