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No Notch niche: Minecraft man in rift with Oculus after Facebook gobble

Won't build square pegs for Zuck-shaped holes

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson has used the occasion of Mark Zuckerberg's acquisition of Oculus VR to unload on the boy wonder's Facebook – and bid farewell to the Rift virtual-reality headset team.

Perhaps at least a little miffed that Zuck's personal shoppers arrived a few weeks into an investigation about whether a skinny Minecraft could be built for the Oculus Rift, Persson says the Facebook culture isn't one he wants to work with.

In this post, he says that while “social could become one of the biggest applications of VR [virtual reality]”, that's not where he thinks Facebook is headed.

Announcing the $US2 billion acquisition, Mark Zuckerberg was pounding the social line for all it's worth, saying “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning”.

With such an apparent happy alignment of message and values, why wouldn't Minecraft come along for the ride?

Nope: because, Persson writes: “I don't want to work with social, I want to work with games”, and Facebook's attitude towards games falls somewhere between indulgent neglect and hostility:

“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."

That social experience, when Facebook brings it to VR, will also include the most dystopian of all possibilities: once you're plugged into the matrix, Facebook's going to want to make money out of you, and Zuck has said that advertising is something the company will work out "down the line".

Persson concludes: “I understand this is purely a business deal, and I’d like to congratulate both Facebook and the Oculus owners. But this is where we part ways." ®

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