Dean Hall sticks up for VR platform exclusivity

Day Z creator Dean hall has spoken out in defence of studios who release platform exclusive virtual reality titles, arguing that the VR sector would be weaker without the practise.

Hall’s current studio Rocketwerkz recently released Out of Ammo for the HTC Vive. Oculus continues to face heat for its exclusivity deals, and more recently there has been online uproar over new title Arizona Sunshine’s decision to restrict some features to Intel i7 CPU owners, despite the fact that modders have proved it can run well on other hardware.

Time and again people are ferociously attacking developers who have made strategic partnerships,” Hall said on Reddit. There are some terrible assumptions that are constantly perpetuated here, and frankly, it’s made developing for virtual reality tiresome for me. Specifically, they expect high quality content, lots of it, for a low price.”

Hall argued that the current VR market is not especially lucrative, and even adding new features to Out of Ammo did not see a large return. These shortfalls, he says, are made up for by paid deals or other forms of financing. Without them, he says, there would be fewer games, and even they would likely boast less content.

Out of Ammo has exceeded our sales predictions and achieved our internal objectives. However, it has been very unprofitable,” he admitted. It is extremely unlikely that it will ever be profitable. We are comfortable with this, and approached it as such. We expected to loose money and we had the funding internally to handle this. Consider then that Out of Ammo has sold unusually well compared to many other VR games.

So where do you get money to develop your games? How do you keep paying people? People talk about developers who have taken Oculus/Facebook/Intel money like they’ve sold out and gone off to buy an island somewhere. The reality is these developers made these deals because it is the only way their games could come out.

Frankly, I applaud Oculus for fronting up and giving real money out with really very little expectations in return other than some timed-exclusivity. Without this subsidization there is no way a studio can break even, let alone make a profit.”

Studios need money to make the games. Previously early-stage platform development has been heavily subsidized by the platform makers. While it’s great that Valve have said they want everything to be open – who is going to subsidize this?”

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