Palmer Luckey Takes to Reddit to Explain Oculus Rift Exclusivity and Development
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR and creator of the Oculus Rift, responded to some claims on Reddit that Oculus is using “Console Tactics on PC platforms” mainly in regards to helping fund and develop games that use the Oculus VR headset exclusively.
What we are doing is working with external devs to make VR games. These are games that have been 100% funded by Oculus from the start, co-designed and co-developed by our own internal game dev teams. The majority of these games would not even exist were we not funding them, it is not like we just paid for exclusivity on existing games – making high quality VR content is hard enough to do when targeting a single headset, trying to support every single headset on the market with our own content is just not a priority for launch. Most companies would have done this as a 1st party software development effort, but we decided it would be better to work with existing developers who wanted to get past the bean counters and make sweet VR games.
Some of the main critics were upset that game software would be purchasable on the PC, but only usable with specific VR hardware, in this case the Oculus Rift. Luckey’s response was,
Extending VR support to multiple headsets is not as simple as a patch, it requires pretty deep integration into the code of the game, integration that the developers themselves have to spend a lot of time integrating and updating. This is especially true for games that rely on our SDK features like timewarp, direct mode, late latching, and layered compositor to get a good experience. We can’t possibly make any promises about support through external patches, and we won’t commit to supporting people who want to use our store to buy games for headsets that our store and software don’t currently support.
Repeatedly users would ask for Oculus itself to help support developers create games or port games created specifically for the Oculus Rift, to other VR headsets.
Remember that these are games being co-developed with Oculus staff, not just funded. Time spent building and maintaining support for other headsets is time that could be spent improving and expanding content.
The whole point of funding these games was to take financial risk off of developers and let them focus on supporting a single platform as best they can. We have been working on that for years, we can’t suddenly shift course as competitors decide to finally enter the market.
It does appear that Oculus aided software will also work on Samsung’s VR headset.
As far as being exclusive to the Oculus Store, that is exactly what we do – our platform also supports Samsung’s GearVR headset, and we will be supporting future Samsung VR devices as well.
Luckey compares the Oculus efforts in development to 1st Party Studio development, except they are using studios that already exist and not creating or purchasing one for themselves.
You are correct. Some of these titles have been in development for years. Not only are we 100% funding exclusive titles, our own development teams are working on the games. Most companies would have done this sort of thing as a 1st party effort, we decided that was not the best route.
He also isn’t very confident that people who purchase consoles purchase multiple, and believes VR can become something that reaches a much larger market.
Mainstream hits like the Wii aside, the market for games consoles is largely a zero sum game – there are a certain number of people in the market, and every person who buys one console is likely to be a lost sale for the other side.
VR, on the other hand, has the eventual goal of expanding beyond just gaming and becoming a technology platform that everyone uses. It is going to take a long time to get to the point where VR is a mature, saturated, zero sum market.