minecraft vr

Minecraft VR Demoed At Press Event

Microsoft and Oculus held a press event yesterday inviting journalists to try out a virtual reality version of Minecraft on an upcoming VR device, the Gear VR.

To be clear, this isn’t the version of Minecraft being made for Microsoft’s HoloLens — those are a different type of glasses and a different type of experience. The HoloLens superimposes virtual items over real-world ones. This is Minecraft for enclosed VR. The Gear VR actually puts you into the pixellated Minecraft world.

Though the Gear VR is created by Oculus Rift, it’s slightly different than the $600 device. These are virtual reality goggles that aim to be cheaper by using a Samsung smartphone as the screen instead of a dedicated viewer. Of course, then you need to already have a Samsung smartphone.

Though it’s cheaper, it’s also less powerful. Oculus’ chief technical officer John Carmack boasted that the Gear VR was the only VR device you could truly take anywhere….every other device being prepped for the market has to use a high-end PC or a current-gen video game console to handle its own processing. Since the Gear VR is running on a smartphone, it can’t render as much as the Oculus Rift can. Charlie Hall of Polygon complained of a draw distance that only let the player see ahead of them about fifty feet. The wow of being in a virtual world is hamstrung if you feel constatly boxed in by walls or fog.

This may be why Minecraft on the Gear VR still has yet to be released despite being in a running state for months now. The version the press played had virtually nothing else wrong with it except the draw distance. Carmack remains proud of his VR conversion, however. “I said this was my grail for VR, that this was the most important gaming application that I could do, or that I could be involved with, and so I’m very proud for the part that I’ve had and I’m happy to have worked with Microsoft and Mojang to get this at the point that it’s at. I’m excited to be supporting it in the coming years as things continue to improve.”

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