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Minecraft Launches A Virtual Reality Edition

One of the world's most popular games is making the leap.

04/28/2016 11:33 am ET
Carlo Allegri / Reuters
A child dressed as a character from Minecraft takes part in a Halloween parade in New York City. Kids -- and adults -- can now step inside the game in virtual reality.

If you thought your kids were into Minecraft before, just wait until they can actually step inside of it.

The game is now available for Samsung's Gear VR headsets, Oculus, the virtual reality company owned by Facebook, announced in a blog post Wednesday. It costs $6.99 to download the game, but you'll also need the $99 Gear VR device in addition to one of several compatible Samsung phones.

It was inevitable that Minecraft would make the leap to VR. The game, which has sold 23 million copies of the PC and Mac versions alone, is available on a variety of devices, from smartphones to video game consoles. Microsoft showcased a demo of the game on its upcoming "HoloLens" augmented reality device last year. If there's a platform that can run modern games, Minecraft will be there.

A promotional video for the new Gear VR version shows familiar gameplay. You navigate a 3D, blocky world, constructing buildings and harvesting materials while dodging enemies or working with friends. But rather than steering your character with a keyboard and mouse, you'll be able to look around in real time simply by moving your head. To move objects and navigate the world, you use a wireless gamepad.

Put another way, the entire Minecraft experience will be considerably more immersive in virtual reality.

Right now, the number of people with VR headsets is fairly low. While a first-run of the Samsung Gear VR sold out on Amazon and Best Buy when the device launched last year, it's estimated that the headset will only sell 5 million units globally by the end of this year. That's practically nothing compared to the number of Minecraft-ready smartphones in the world, though they've of course had a considerable head start.

Most American consumers also don't know much about specific virtual reality devices, according to a recent poll.

Still, Minecraft has a well-documented, unique appeal: If anything can get people interested in new technology, it might just be this game.

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