Oculus founder responds to flack over 'exclusive' games

Palmer Luckey insists the Rift will be an open platform

Oculus Rift virtual reality hardware

Oculus Rift virtual reality hardware

Oculus VR came under fire last week after its CEO said the company will fund development of about two dozen "Oculus-exclusive" games for its virtual reality headset. The company has now responded to the complaints, saying some of those games may eventually come to other VR platforms.

The spat started after Brendan Iribe, CEO of Facebook-owned Oculus, told a gaming magazine last week that the company's Oculus Studios division has been funding games that will be exclusive to Oculus, such as Incomniac's "Edge of Nowhere."

That led to complaints that Oculus is building a closed ecosystem for its headset that could fragment the VR industry before it gets off the ground.

Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit over the weekend to answer the complaints. The Rift is an "open platform," he insisted. Anyone can build games for the device, and Oculus developers can distribute games for any platform "without paying us a penny."

"We are not trying to lock the Oculus ecosystem to our own hardware," he wrote.

The games being developed exclusively for the Rift were entirely funded by Oculus, Luckey said, and wouldn't exist at all if Oculus hadn't been funding them. Making quality VR games is hard, and supporting other headsets isn't a priority for launch, he said. The Rift is scheduled for general availability next March.

"Most companies would have done this as a 1st party software development effort," Luckey said on Reddit, "but we decided it would be better to work with existing developers who wanted to get past the bean counters and make sweet VR games."

One Redditor asked if the developers of the exclusive games could implement OpenVR after they're launched and make them available for other platforms.

The answer, said Luckey, is maybe.

"Some of our titles might end up on other headsets at some point, but I am not going to make any promises when we are still rushing to launch our own product," he wrote.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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