Croteam developer Mario Kotlar recently said on Reddit that his team was offered a lot of money by Oculus VR to make Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope an Oculus Rift exclusive. The offer was declined by Croteam because they hate the exclusive thing and believe that good games will do well irrespective of anything.
However, Kotlar’s comments were later clarified by Croteam CTO Alen Ladavac in a follow up which read, “Oculus did approach us with an offer to help fund the completion of Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope in exchange for launching first on the Oculus Store and keeping it time-limited exclusive. Their offer was to help us accelerate development of our game, with the expectation that it would eventually support all PC VR platforms,” he wrote. “We looked at the offer and decided it wasn’t right for our team. At no time did Oculus ask for, or did we discuss total exclusivity or buyout of support from Vive.”
Oculus also spoke in the same tune while informing Kotaku, “We regularly offer developers financial grants to help fund early development of new titles to accelerate development or expand the scope of the game. In some cases, we exchange funding in return for launching on the Oculus Store first, with the expectation that the game will go on to launch on other platforms. In the case of Croteam, at no time did we request that they stop development for other platforms, and we look forward to seeing Serious Sam be successful across the entire VR ecosystem.”
The whole incident involving Oculus was criticized by a lot of people on Reddit. They were critical of the fact that Oculus is funding VR games in order to make them Oculus exclusives. Similar accusations were made on Oculus about an year ago, but their co-founder Palmer Luckey denied the fact on Reddit that Oculus Rift would become a “closed ecosystem”.
Interestingly, Valve boss Gabe Newell also had his opinion on this whole ‘exclusives’ matter. He replied to an email sent by one of the users of the
The email read, “We don’t think exclusives are a good idea for consumers or developers. There’s a separate issue which is risk. On any given project, you need to think about how much risk to take on. There are a lot of different forms of risk—financial risk, design risk, schedule risk, organizational risk, IP risk, etc… A lot of the 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. We’re in a much better position to absorb financial risk than a new VR developer, so we are happy to offset that giving developers development funds (essentially pre-paid Steam revenue). However there are no strings attached to those funds—they can develop 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.
A few people following the thread, on the other hand are not so optimistic and thinks that Valve will get the deal done by pouring in money. However, going by Valve’s record of getting things right definitely gives us some hope. At this point of time, we can just wait, watch and hope for something good for the consumers.