Epic Games co-founder and industry legend Tim Sweeney was very, very vocal about his thoughts on the Oculus Home platform when the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) launch a few months ago. The developer called the company out on its decision to only allow users to play content through its own store unless they opted in to getting experiences from third-party retailers like Steam, calling the move “very disappointing”. His stance on this matter hasn’t changed, but his views on content exclusive to some HMDs might surprise you.
Speaking in a recent interview with GameSpot, Sweeney defended both Oculus VR and PlayStation VR maker Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE’s) approach to funding videogames that would then appear only on their respective platforms.
“Well, I think that’s a perfectly valid business model,” he said. “It’s one of the ways to nurture an industry before it’s viable itself. If you look at what’s led to the success of the PlayStation and the Xbox platforms, it’s been the … what was key to their launches were the awesome first party titles that those companies funded for millions of dollars, or tens of millions of dollars, or even hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that there were great titles available at launch that really defined the platform.”
Despite this somewhat surprising defence, Sweeney remained consistent when it came to Oculus Home’s closed ecosystem approach. “The fact is that PC gamers aren’t idiots,” the figurehead explained. “Gabe Newell is the smartest person in the PC industry because he fundamentally realizes it. These gamers are smart; they know what’s happening. When companies do this sort of thing, it pisses them off. Everybody wants to have control over the computer. They want to have complete freedom to install anything from any source. They don’t want any company’s product forcing them to do things against their will.”
Could continued pressure from the likes of Sweeney get Oculus VR to change its approach to Oculus Home somewhere along the line? It looks unlikely right now, especially considering criticism of the company’s exclusive efforts hasn’t got it to budge. Then again, the company recently undid some security checks that allowed the ReVive hack to once again give HTC Vive users access to some Oculus Rift exclusives, so there’s always hope for people like Sweeney.
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