Valve Boss Thinks VR Exclusives Are Bad for Gamers and Developers Alike

Valve is giving developers funds to make VR games--no strings attached.

34 Comments

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."

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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.

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Barighm

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Given VR is a major PC platform, and the helmets alone cost a pretty penny, I can definitely see how some PC gamers would be annoyed by this.

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letsgame82

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Lol Bad for gamers but certainly not for devs/business, it's not like they have a gun to their heads when they make a game exclusive (more like a truck loaded with cash).

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Stiler

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Edited By Stiler

@letsgame82: You obviously don't understand how game development works. Most devs aren't EA or Ubisoft, they aren't both a dev and publisher.

They will literally pitch their idea to many many publishers and making a vr game in order to put food on the table or get their idea made is a huge risk.

When the rift for example tells you that they will fund your game IF you make it "Exclusive" and no other publisher is helping you, you will do it in order to provide for your employees.

In the long run this exclusivity is goingto hurt VR, it needs mainstream adoption and a quick way to stop that is by fracturing the market depending on what headset you buy.

It's basically like if they made monitors tell you what games you could or could not display on it, it's absurd and only hurts the devs/consumers in the long run.

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letsgame82

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Edited By letsgame82

@Stiler: zzzz this is just common sense stuff so don't act smart over here! Devs have a choice, release it on multi platforms or timed/full exclusive! They go exclusive if they can't afford to go multiplat, make the game without funds and get help from a publisher or are offered funds for exclusivity! So how is it bad for devs? It's only bad for gamers.

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Stiler

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@letsgame82: You don't get to pick any publisher you want, it's not as simple as that. You can't make a game without a publisher or investors to fund it. If you are making a vr game a lot of big publishers are still staying on the side-lines right now and not publishing VR-only games. It's the VR makers that are helping publish VR games, from Oculus, to valve, and others.

If you are lucky enough that one of them agrees to publish your game you have to abide by their contracts, and for Oculus that usually means exclusivity.

You make it sound like a simple and easy choice for devs to get a publisher and it isn't. Why do you think things like Kickstarter and Indiegogo/fig are out there?

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letsgame82

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@Stiler: You're going off topic! The article is about exclusives being bad for gamers and devs, how's exclusivity bad for devs? If they are a small dev, they get paid if a publisher funds their project and decides to make it a timed/full exclusive and in time the devs grow and have enough funds to do whatever they want with their games. It's only bad for gamers who miss out if they own a platform which hasn't got the exclusive app.

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Stiler

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@letsgame82: Developers get paid by a publisher to make a game. Then they get more money if that game sells well and does good. Usually game publishers take the largest cut, not developers. Developers get a small % of sales, so the better a game sales the more money they can make. For small developers having a tiny market and then further having that market fractured by "exclusivity" deals only serves to further limit the potential sales of their game and profits that they might make from it, hence why Oculus and such publishing titles but at the cost of making them "exclusive" is a bad thing for consumers and devs.

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letsgame82

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@Stiler: But atleast the devs have got the game out to consumers even if limited due to exclusivity. The publisher is entitled to a bigger cut if they put majority of funding which is rightly so coz the game could flop and they lose out but devs normally get a payment upfront and bonuses after depending on the success of their game or if it's in the clause. It would only be bad for devs if their game didn't come out, you have to build your rep then call your own shots when you're big enough, win win.

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Ravenlore_basic

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Edited By Ravenlore_basic

@Stiler: Luckily Sony has PSVR with enough games and buyers to save the day

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ECH71

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I'm interested in AR (HoloLens) for major improvements in day to day computing but VR never interested me. I don't like the idea of being unaware of my surroundings while playing a game or watching a movie.

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p1p3dream

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Edited By p1p3dream

Who thinks that Valve might actually be cooking up a VR version of HalfLife 3? If you think about it, it could make a lot of sense as it could serve as the "killer app" to push people into getting VR. I have a funny feeling about this, that maybe they've been waiting for VR to do Half Life 3- and do some of that killer innovation that Valve is known for doing every 10 to 15 years.

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Ravenlore_basic

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@p1p3dream: wait.... they will release a remake of all Half-life games in VR and end with Half-life 3. wow that would be great...

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p1p3dream

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Edited By p1p3dream

@Ravenlore_basic: Well, im not so sure about the remakes, but I do think there is some logic to them realeasing a Halflife 3 in VR.

Just think, if they released Half Life 3 exclusively for Vive, they would practiaclly guarnatee its success.

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Zenrocker480

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@wtf_666:

Funny I see people saying this kind of thing and never even tried it. Some people do get sick in VR, but most people don't. Just because it you can't enjoy it doesn't mean it is dead. Just plain short sighted and stupid to say it is dead.

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LTJohnnyRico

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@zenrocker480: Its really not dead .. I'm loving VR and glad I was an early adopter this time around !! I'm excited to see this go further !!

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Ravenlore_basic

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Edited By Ravenlore_basic

@zenrocker480: There has been, and always will be naysayers. The car, the steam boat, the passenger airplane, ....

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hystavito

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Edited By hystavito

@Ravenlore_basic: People love to say that but there's no connection, for every invention that succeeded how many are there that didn't?

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LTJohnnyRico

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@hystavito: Yes but like with previous inventions it not always the idea that is bad .. sometimes its a matter of timing !! Like the airplane at the time seemed daft .. why would we even want it .. now its a part of everyday life .. VR came before and the timing wasn't right .. the tech wasn't at the level it needed to be to catch on to make a big enough impact .. Now it seems the time is right !!

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Zenrocker480

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Edited By Zenrocker480

@wtf_666:

Funny I see people saying this kind of thing and never even tried it. Some people do get sick in VR, but most people don't. Just because it you can't enjoy it doesn't mean it is dead. Just plain short sighted and stupid to say it is dead.

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Thanatos2k

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Thanatos2k  Online

As usual, Valve cares about the consumers while others bicker.

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rikku45

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Is this about the psvr or how the rift is locking stuff to their own headset and store?

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almatha

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this was posted days ago Eddie, get with the program.

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wtf_666

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Doesn't matter. VR is dead already.

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jcharp

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@wtf_666: That might be a bit premature, but I don't disagree that it's off to a very inauspicious start.

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mundus

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Hopefully this works with vibe. Since if i buy vr it will be for pc.

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PlaystationZone

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Edited By PlaystationZone

Shut up cabe what last time reasle game since promise half life EP3.

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Imajinn

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@playstationzone: Who the hell is Chris?

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game4metoo

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@imajinn: who's cabe?

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Imajinn

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@game4metoo: Lmfao he did have it as Chris. I guess Cabe is Gabe and Chris mixed. I am so lost right now.

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