Valve Boss Thinks VR Exclusives Are Bad for Gamers and Developers Alike
Valve is giving developers funds to make VR games--no strings attached.
Valve boss Gabe Newell has shared his thoughts on VR exclusives, saying they are a bad idea for gamers and developers alike. Reddit user elpollodiablo187 asked Newell for his thoughts on VR exclusives over email recently; here is the first line from Newell's response (verified by a Valve representative to GI.biz):
"We don't think exclusives are a good idea for customers or developers."
Newell went on to say that all developers face some amount of "risk" for any given project, but this is ramped up for VR developers specifically.
"There are a lot of different forms of risk--financial risk, design risk, schedule risk, organizational risk, IP risk, etc. A lot of interesting VR work is being done by new developers. That is a triple-risk whammy--a new developer creating new game mechanics on a new platform," Newell said.
The Valve founder added that one way the company is helping out is by providing funds to VR developers. What's more, these funds are not contingent on a game being released exclusively for HTC Vive, the VR headset Valve and HTC made together.
"We're in a much better position to absorb financial risk than a new VR developer, so we are happy to offset that [by] giving developers development funds (essentially pre-paid Steam revenue)," he explained. "However, there are no strings attached to those funds. They can developer for the Rift or PlayStation VR or whatever the developer thinks are the right target VR systems. Our hope is that by providing that funding that developers will be less likely to take on deals that require them to be exclusive."
Valve's stance appears to be somewhat different than the approach Oculus is taking. The Facebook-owned company has some games billed as "exclusive" to Rift, such as Lucky's Tale. Software called Revive allowed Rift "exclusives" to run on competing devices, but Oculus eventually shut this down.