With the release of Minecraft on the Gear VR earlier this year, Oculus and John Carmack showed their understanding of what gamers want. You don’t always have to create something groundbreaking or revolutionary – sometimes adapting the most popular game on the planet for all ages is the right move and it’s already paying off in a big way.
Currently, on the Gear VR, you can play Minecraft one of two ways. You can either play it in a virtual theater mode, similar to how you watch movies in the Gear VR Netflix app. The game will run on a big screen in front of you, while you’re sitting on a virtual couch. It’s a neat way to emulate the console experience of the game, but is mostly targeting people that have trouble stomaching standard Minecraft in VR due to motion sickness.
Then you can also zoom into the world itself and play the game with full motion tracking support of your head movements. Look around you in full 360 degree immersion and experience what John Carmack refers to as “the best thing” on either Oculus platform.
Now, thanks to the folks at Virtuix Omni, you can take that immersion even further. Using their treadmill device, you can sync your phone and the Gear VR to provide full movement tracking. You can hold a gamepad in your hand to control all of your inputs like jumping, browsing the inventory, and actually building things, but physically move your legs and feet to walk around the world.
“This VR version of Minecraft developed by Oculus / John Carmack is surprisingly one of the most immersive experiences we’ve had in VR so far,” Jan Goetgeluk, CEO of Virtuix, told me via email. “And it works out-of-the-box with the Omni for natural movement without motion sickness (no tweaks are needed thanks to the Omni’s built-in Bluetooth gamepad emulation). Minecraft has more than 100 million registered users and more than 1 million players at any given time, so we believe this popular game has the potential to become one of the first killer apps for VR.”
You can read our thoughts on the latest model of the Virtuix Omni from GDC 2016 here. Virtuix recently raised nearly $5 million from over 1,000 private investors and VR enthusiasts in their Regulation A financing round.