Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote on this blog and what a better way to get back into the swing of things than me venting my frustration on top of my virtual soap box in the dark reach of the internet.
There two big video game series that really marked my childhood: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon for the Playstation. These games are probably some of the best games I have played even to this day. Sure I could play Diablo 3 for hours on end or load Burnout Paradise and drive like a maniac for a while, but neither will bring the same sense of deep satisfaction I get when I play those bike level in Crash Bandicoot 3 or the excitement of chasing the egg thieves in the first Spyro game. The two games studios behind these classics, Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog continued to be powerhouses of awesomeness bringing us new levels of awesome with the Jak & Daxter games and the Ratchet & Clank games on the Playstation 2, then the amazing Uncharted games and even more Ratchet & Clank games. Heck the main reason I bought an Xbox one was to play Insomniac Games latest title, Sunset Overdrive, which was pretty awesome.
Then the other day, I learned that Insomniac games was about to release a VR game call Edge of Nowhere. I should have been ecstatic: VR is really exciting and should become more affordable in the coming years, and it was made by one of my favorite game studios, what is there not to like? Well, it rather simple and can be expressed in three words: Oculus Rift exclusive…
I can begin to express how infuriating that sentence is to me and countless other people around the world. There is a very common “counter arguments” to this feeling that essentially goes like this: “Consoles have exclusives, why can’t oculus have any?” and “It probably to much work to create two version of the games”. Good points, now seat down and let me explain how incredibly stupid those argument are.
A lot of people like to bring out the fact that every game console ever made had exclusive title for them, but the problem is that VR headsets are not game consoles. all the game still run on your Computer and the headsets serve as nothing more than Input/Output for the game. There is no processing going on in the headset it self. The headset and its motion controller are nothing more than peripheral for your computer. To me, oculus exclusives make as much sense and a game that won’t work unless your television is a Samsung or unless your keyboard is from Logitech. That would make no sense now would it? If your computer is powerful enough for VR, It should not matter what Headset your are using.
And what about the way games are coded? Well, there are standard that will make your games work on both headsets currently available! All the game that work for the HTC Vive also work with the Oculus Rift, surely Oculus can have their game run on the Vive. Heck someone even made a tool to port some of the Oculus “exclusive” game code to make it work on the Vive. Heck, Valve VR dev tools supposedly support HTC’s and oculus’s implementation of VR.
Therefore I can conclude with confidence that there no technical aspect that prevents cross compatibility between headsets. Then what on earth is going on? Why is Oculus being so stubborn?
As a hardware company, their main selling point should be, big surprise, their hardware. The thing is that their competitor beat them to the punch for two big selling point: motion controllers and room scale VR. Oculus can technically could do room scale but they apparently could not be bothered, and motion controller are supposed to come out later this year. They are clearly playing catch up right now and that might be why they are pushing for exclusive games. If they can’t get you on their hard ware, they force you by having some restricted software.
This seems like a strange attitude because earlier this year in January, Luckey Palmer said: “When we say ‘Oculus Exclusive,’ that means exclusive to the Oculus Store, not exclusive to the Rift” and they expect they thing to eventually work on many other hard ware. The seemingly hypocritical 180 is not the only one Oculus has performed.To say that Oculus has not been living up to their fan’s expectations is quite an understatement. Heck, after making fun of people complain because of shipping delays, someone roasted the funder of Oculus on reddit with a list of all the promises they broke and all the lies they told the press. These latest series of exclusives, retail availability before preorders and DRMs debacles has not helped their public image.
I think that I am not the only one that would put the blame squarely on Facebook. Going from Kickstarter success story to being bought out by what many would consider the closest thing to a real life Wayland-Yutani, many predicted that such thing would happen and they sure did. I would agree that most of the blame goes to Facebook, since Palmer seems to be nothing more than a company mascot and occasional PR puppet.
I am hoping to save enough money to build a new gaming computer by the end of the year/ early next year that would be VR capable and I unless oculus does another set of 180s, I am fairly certain that I won’t be buying an Oculus headset…