Mojang and Oculus open up a whole new world with VR ‘Minecraft’ for Windows 10

After launching a special edition of Minecraft for the Samsung Gear VR headset in April, Oculus VR and Mojang are now releasing a free update to the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta that will enable gamers to play this version of the popular sandbox game/sim with the Oculus Rift. Headset owners merely need to grab the launcher from the Oculus Store to get started.

According to Marsh Davies of Mojang, VR Minecraft includes innate keyboard and mouse support, and new options for the Xbox One controller. The VR Minecraft page syas that fast movements can be disorienting in VR, so Mojang has inserted a system allowing players to turn in “snappy” increments instead of a single arc. This method is supposedly easier on the brain.

Other new features in VR Minecraft include “fancy-pants graphics stuff.” This includes new render distance settings that will take advantage of VR-dedicated graphics cards, optimized DirectX 11 performance on Windows 10, and multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA) for improved image quality. The game also provides even more “granular” customization in the VR settings.

“Many VR-specific options which affect comfort or rendering performance are recorded separately, so you can customize your VR experience, and still retain your traditional Minecraft experience exactly how you left it … when you left the real world, for the world of VR Minecraft!” said Minecraft AR/VR Developer Mike McGrath.

In a video provided by the Minecraft team last month, Saxs Persson said that they were contacted by John Carmack from Oculus, who wanted to bring Minecraft into VR. Thus, they created special teams within Mojang and Oculus VR and began banging out support for the Rift headset. Throughout the development, both teams experimented with different ways to optimize Minecraft for VR, including the new snappy turn system provided in Monday’s update.

Also included in VR Minecraft is a virtual living room to give players a break from the immersive, full-view experience. This allows the player to hit a button and find themselves seated on a virtual couch that’s planted in front of a virtual wide-screen TV. Players can look around to view the room and play Minecraft on the big screen. To zoom back into the actual game, simply press a button.

“When we first started testing with the community, we noticed a couple of things,” Persson said last month. “One thing was that whenever we put a joystick in peoples’ hands, they basically froze. They were just sitting like they were playing a game normally. Some of the most awesome moments are when people get accustomed to ‘actually I can look anywhere I want to’ and sort of break free of that mold. Decades of training have taught people that you sit still when you play games, but that’s all about to change.”

Persson hopes that with VR Minecraft, the community will see their worlds in a completely different way. This will bring creators up close and personal with their creations without actually having something real in their hands. The VR experience is expected to inspire new creations and worlds that were difficult to envision while viewing the game on a flat screen.

“We’d like to welcome you to the game all over again, because it’s a fantastic new experience in VR, even if you’re a Minecraft veteran,” McGrath says. “For new and experienced players, we hope the VR experience in Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will illuminate just how powerful, evocative, and utterly immersive VR can really be.”


Listen up! White noise device may make VR motion sickness a thing of the past

A simple device that sends white noise vibrations to the inner ear could be all it takes to fix the long-running problem of nausea in virtual reality. The developers are now seeking FDA approval.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus could be set to release a new version of its Rift headset in 2019, but it will be more of a modest upgrade than a true sequel. The Rift S, as its purportedly called, will have a new display, and inside-out tracking.

Google awarded patent for using eye tracking to detect expressions in VR

Google was awarded a patent that involves using eye tracking to infer facial expressions using machine learning in virtual reality. The tech could help make virtual reality a whole lot more immersive than it already is.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Dive head first into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s $480M contract with U.S. military will equip soldiers with Hololens

Microsoft recently won a $480 million contract to equip American soldiers with up to 100,000 of its augmented reality Hololens headsets. Here's what we know so far about the new deal.