Cultural touchstone Minecraft has been released into its first-ever virtual reality incarnation this week. Players of a new VR-enabled Minecraft Pocket Edition, the pared-down version for smartphones, who happen to own a Samsung device will be able to slot those into their Gear VR headsets, pick up a Bluetooth-enabled controller, and experience their worlds firsthand.
While Mojang are still developing full-blooded Minecraft for the Oculus Rift, this separate VR version for mobile players is compatible with cross-platform games with Pocket and PC players. Mojang are developing several features with their VR products, designed to address some of the pitfalls often associated with VR technology, such as disorientation. These small changes can help unaccustomed users adapt better to the VR environment.
From the new Minecaft VR page:
We’ve put a new spin on spinning! Moving round fast can feel disorienting in VR: your body’s not doing what your eyes see. Our solution lets you turn in snappy increments rather than a single arc. It’s surprising at first but quickly feels normal and is easier on the brain.
Along with a method to limit immersion to a “VR Living Room” (potentially to curtail headaches) and adjustments to classic controls, VR Minecraft should be very well developed by the time it comes out. There is no definitive word on when the Oculus Rift version will be released, with the VR page only listing it as ‘coming soon’. This version is planned to be a true port of Minecraft, with all the content, game modes, and connectivity of the Windows version. With more and more companies moving toward VR compatibility and development, it really does look like the next phase of gaming technology. For now, Minecrafters can get a first taste of the new world inside their own fortresses and mines.
The new VR Pocket Edition is available now to everyone with the appropriate hardware.