Gabe Newell Responds to Concerns Over Oculus Exclusivity

by Jamie Feltham • June 14th, 2016

Oculus came under fire yesterday from the VR community, and it was once again all to do with exclusivity. Now the managing director and co-founder of rival company Valve has chimed in on the subject.

None other than Gabe Newell himself recently offered up his opinion on exclusive VR content on the PC ecosystem to a Reddit user by the name of TinySpaceship, which we’ve been able to verify as real thanks to a fast response. In his email to the celebrated developer, the VR fan, who owns a Vive, expressed his concerns over Oculus Home’s closed ecosystem approach that’s been at the heart of so many discussions in the VR community of late. Surprisingly, Newell offered a reply just a few days ago.

The email reads in full:

“We’re for open systems, obviously.
I think consumers and developers are pretty sophisticated nowadays, and know what is in their best interests long term (open).
I also think there are going to be a lot of companies building VR systems, which will make it really unlikely that anyone will be able to get away with a closed system.
As far as Valve, we’ve made some progress away from being a gatekeeper, and we’ve got a plan to where we are completely out of the way of developers and customers connecting.”

TinySpaceship also explained that he’d asked Newell for permission to post the reply online following yesterday’s news that Giant Cop, a VR game first announced for the HTC Vive, would now have an exclusivity period on the Oculus Rift. Following this, Mario Kotlar, one of the developers of Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope claimed that Oculus had offered him and the members of Croteam “a shitton of money” for exclusivity, which they refused in contempt for the concept.

Newell’s reply reaffirms Valve’s open, exclusive-free approach to VR, letting any and all developers that choose to develop for the Vive and then stick their content up on Steam. Even studios working on Oculus-only games can list them on the digital storefront. The Rift, meanwhile, asks fans to opt-in to allowing content not purchased through Oculus Home, and recently issued an update that stopped a third-party hack known as ReVive from allowing Rift exclusives to be played in the Vive. This road bump was quickly overcome, however.

As for the Giant Cop debate, Oculus itself is yet to make an official comment on the situation.

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