Minecraft is one of the most popular games on the market, and it’s no surprise that it’s making the jump to VR with a little help from Oculus. However, the experience might not be for everyone.
The demo used the combination of the Rift HMD and an Xbox One controller. At the start of the game, you are transported to a virtual living room. You can use the screen in front of you to play Minecraft, or you can press a button on the controller to enter the game in first-person view. In this alternate view, you can look around by turning your head, but you can also use the right analog stick to rotate the camera by a few degrees.
The short demo was a tour of sorts. After learning the basic mechanics of the game, you would travel to other parts of the built world to kill a few zombies, watch a series of flaming arrows, and play with some chickens. The game would end after you reached a chest filled with priceless gems. Initially, it seemed strange that there were two ways to play the game, but after a few minutes walking around in the pixelated world, I found out the real purpose of the living room setup, the hard way.
On my first playthrough of the game, I briefly played in the virtual living room before hopping into the actual Minecraft world. However, the feeling of nausea came around after a few seconds in the unique VR view. Throughout the demo, I had to be cautious about the speed of my head turns and my character’s overall movement. When combined, those two actions can result in a dizzying experience.
Eventually, the nausea somewhat subsided near the end of the demo. However, there were issues with the game recording software, so video footage wasn’t available. I had a slightly better experience on my second run through of the game (which is the video included in this story), but my dizziness lingered as I made my way through the map.
Nausea has not been an issue for me in most of the VR games I’ve played. Even EVE: Valkyrie, with its fast-paced space flight action, didn’t make me feel sick, but Minecraft, a simple game of creativity and survival, gave me an uncomfortable experience in VR. It seems, then, that the virtual living room was created for those who might have issues playing the game in a true VR mode.
Back To The Drawing Board
Even though there are two ways to play the game in VR, Minecraft doesn’t pass with flying colors. There needs to be a way to fix the issue so that everyone can play the game as it was meant to be presented in VR instead of opting to play in a virtual living room.
We are now less than a month away from the release of the Oculus Rift, and the addition of Minecraft to the company’s VR content should attract more people to try out the device. But in its current state, the user experience for Minecraft needs to improve. Otherwise, there will be a group of players that will feel left out from the real experience due to the game’s nauseating effect.