Recently Vice President of Global VR Content at HTC, Joel Breton was critical about the approach that Oculus was taking when it came to exclusivity and funding of developers.
In a recent interview with Gamespot, Breton said that Oculus was hampering developers by blocking them from other platforms. He went on to claim that though the games would not exist without significant funding from Oculus, restricting them to one platform was ‘problematic’ as it means developers could not “develop relative to market size” and accused Oculus of putting more cash into the market than it was possible to recover.
Oculus’ financial support for developers and securing of exclusives (wholly, or temporarily) for the Oculus Rift continues to be a divisive topic in the VR community at large. On Twitter, Jason Rubin VP of Content and Breton’s equivalent at Oculus, hit back with the following: “Is Oculus “over-investing in VR, spoiling developers, allowing them to make titles that otherwise wouldn’t exist?” Uh… guilty as charged.”
Is @Oculus "over-investing in VR, spoiling developers, allowing them to make titles that otherwise wouldn't exist?" Uh… guilty as charged.
— Jason Rubin (@Jason_Rubin) March 22, 2017
For example, Oculus Rift’s latest hit game Robo Recall, had a development budget roughly equivalent to that of the original Gears of War, but was free to download for anyone with an Oculus Touch.
Rubin’s comments naturally received many comments on Twitter, with a number of developers and users both coming out in support and against his comments. Paul Kolls, Creative Director at Fierce Kaiju, came down firmly on the side of Oculus, saying: “Because of such support our studio exists, simply wouldn’t be here doing what we love without it. Always grateful.”
Other commenters were a little more humorous, such as Jon Wade, part of the VR R&D department at Shopify, who said: “are banks spoiling entrepreneurs? Loaning/investing in small businesses that otherwise wouldn’t exist?”
Another anonymous Twitter user did point out that Rubin seemed to ignore the issue of exclusive content, however, adding: “You conveniently overlooked the bit about ‘exclusive’ that the article seems to focus on.”
This incident seems likely to continue the debate for some time to come; VRFocus will keep an eye on the situation and report any further developments.
Update: This article has been updated to indicate that it is ownership of Oculus Touch, not the Rift that enables you to download Robo Recall for free.