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Gabe Newell: VR exclusivity 'isn't a good idea' for consumers or developers

"Our hope is that by providing that funding that developers will be less likely to take on deals that require them to be exclusive."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 17, 2016

1 Min Read

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has spoken out against the notion of platform exclusive virtual reality titles, saying that the company will fund VR development without ever asking for assurances on exclusivity.

In an email posted to Reddit, a user asked Newell about his approach to exclusivity with regards to the Steam VR-powered HTC Vive. 

Quickly responding, the Valve managing director explained that creating platform-specific VR content simply "isn't a good idea for customers or developers."

Talking more specifically, Newell said the company is well aware of the risks being taken on by virtual reality developers, who are largely young studios creating new game mechanics and experiences for an unproven consumer platform.

As a result, he says Valve is happy to fund virtual reality development, even if the creators it helps decide to release their game elsewhere. 

"We're in a much better position to absorb financial risk than a new VR developer, so we're happy to offset that by giving developers funds (essentially pre-paid Steam revenue)," explained Newell.

"However, there are no strings attaches to those funds. They can develop for the Rift or PlayStation VR or whatever the developers things 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."

The restraints of device-exclusive VR titles has been a bone of contention for many early adopters, leading a small group of Vive owners to create an unofficial plugin that made Oculus exclusive titles, such as Lucky's Tale, playable on HTC's headset. 

Oculus moved quickly to shut down the plugin, branding it a hack, and warned users that "hacked games won't work indefinitely," as regular updates would likely disable said software.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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