Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson has always been an outspoken one, but it’s still surprising to see the bluntness of his response to the news that Facebook acquired virtual reality tech firm Oculus VR. “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus,” Notch wrote on Twitter. “I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”
There have been varying levels of excitement, anger, and confusion relating to the Facebook/Oculus news, which is by far the most high-profile example yet of a Kickstarter bid becoming the target of a major corporate acquisition. Some backers – including Notch, based on the lengthier explanation he wrote at Notch.net – feel wronged by the move. They’re unhappy about helping to fund a Kickstarter product that is now set to be the wholly owned property of a massive and often controversial social networking company.
As Notch writes, “I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.”
He’s actually correct. The Minecraft creator didn’t chip in to seed a first investment round. The term “investment” implies there’s a hope for some kind of profit, a return on that investment. When you back a Kickstarter, you’re spending money in advance for a product. You might get some nifty bonuses if you kick in more than what’s needed to pre-purchase the eventual product, but there’s nothing that qualifies these payouts as proper investments.
While his annoyance may be misplaced, Notch has perfectly valid reasons for ending his work to bring Minecraft to the Rift, and he explains those reasons at greater length on his website than he did initially on Twitter. “I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook,” he writes. “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.”
Notch seems excited by the idea that Oculus’ growth has brought new competitors into the VR arena, and he seems excited to work with other, similar hardware. He doesn’t namedrop Sony’s Project Morpheus, but it ought to be noted here that Minecraft was confirmed for a PlayStation 4 release back in 2013. Notch writes earlier in the post that he never felt a full port of Minecraft could work in VR due to the game’s hardware demands and elaborate user interface, but perhaps that attitude will change as 4J Studios (which developed the Xbox 360 port) pulls together the PS4 release.
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