‘We hate exclusives as much as you do.’
UPDATE: Oculus contacted GamingBolt with a statement clarifying their stance on their policy towards funding VR games, including this specific situation with Serious Sam VR.
“We regularly offer developers financial grants to help fund early development of new titles to accelerate development or expand the scope of the game. In some cases, we exchange funding in return for launching on the Oculus Store first, with the expectation that the game will go on to launch on other platforms. In the case of Croteam, at no time did we request that they stop development for other platforms, and we look forward to seeing Serious Sam be successful across the entire VR ecosystem.”
It sounds like Oculus were not trying to secure an exclusive in this case- they were, however, trying to fund the development of a title that they had identified as promising, with the implicit expectation that said game would launch on Oculus first. However, by Oculus’ own admission, they did not expect the game to be an Oculus exclusive at any point- in which case, there appears to have been some major miscommunication between Croteam and them, then.
The original story follows.
Oculus have been adopting a very console-like approach to VR gaming, packaging and marketing the Oculus Rift as a game platform, complete with a closed off ecosystem, and exclusives of its own. This approach may even make sense for a VR headset bound to a close platform like the PSVR is to the PS4, but Oculus is PC based- its approach is a bit harder to swallow, especially since it is contrasted with HTC’s Vive, and the open approach to VR it is adopting thanks to Valve’s SteamVR.
It’s Oculus’ propensity to buy exclusives that pisses people off the most, and has caused them to sour on it so quickly- after all, VR is an emergent medium that needs as large an audience as it can get. Why limit it by deliberately excluding people from any bit of software?
To those people who disagree with Oculus’ approach to securing exclusives, then, this new bit of news won’t necessarily endear the company or its products to them. Mario Kotlar, a Level and Game Designer at Croteam, the folks who are developing Serious Sam VR, recently revealed that Oculus offered the developers a ‘shit ton of money’ to keep the game exclusive to Rift- something that they had to turn down, because they believe in open standards for VR too.
“It wasn’t easy, but we turned down a shitton of money, as we believe that truly good games will sell by themselves and make profit in the long run regardless,” Kotlar said to UploadVR. “And also because we hate exclusives as much as you do.”
Okay Oculus, I like you guys, and I like your pioneering approach to VR, but maybe you all want to reconsider how you approach a market that is essentially a subset of the most open platform for gaming that there is?