“It isn’t bad for VR.”
For good or for bad, whether accurately or inaccurately Oculus’ strategy of securing Oculus Rift exclusives – or even timed exclusives, and ones enforced by a hardware check at that – has rubbed a lot of people off the wrong way. People’s displeasure at these moves is rooted in the PC being an open platform, and Oculus going against the spirit of that, as well as people’s desires to see an open VR ecosystem, rather than one fragmented by exclusive games.
However, Speaking to TechCrunch in an E3 interview, Oculus’ Palmer Luckey pointed to Sony’s strategy with the PlayStation VR, noting that exclusives were hardly limited to the Rift when it comes to VR games. “You see Sony investing in their content the same way,” he said. “They want to make things that take advantage of their features that they have in the best way possible.”
He went on to note that he felt that this was going to benefit the VR gaming ecosystem in the end- “The reality is, I can see where that’s painful for some people, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad for the VR industry, or that it’s fragmenting it, or in the long run, it’s not the right way for the ecosystem to work,” he said.
I can certainly see the business acumen in trying to secure exclusives for his new product- it’s one way to get people interested in it, after all. But with that said, I am not sure how much I buy his PlayStation VR analogy- after all, the PSVR runs on the PS4, which is a closed system to begin with. Oculus having exclusives of its own on PC is like Nvidia securing exclusives for its GPUs, so that PC gamers are unable to play certain games unless they own an Nvidia GPU. That is definitely not the kind of future for gaming that we want.
But maybe I am misunderstanding- and Luckey is right that exclusivity, and the funding that comes with it, will certainly fuel the VR gaming ecosystem. Ultimately, it’s a complicated and nuanced question- and while I know that I fall on the side of openness here, I can definitely see where Oculus and Luckey are coming from.