Gamers are familiar with the concept of exclusive titles. These single-system properties can often make or break a console’s sales in a cycle. Now that Virtual Reality is being pushed harder and becoming more attractive to both console manufacturers and studios, exclusives are becoming part of the decision on which VR headset to choose. This has led to animosity against Facebook in its alleged attempt to buy exclusive titles for the Oculus Rift.
The controversy in question began on Reddit, where a thread complaining about several games becoming Rift exclusive started (NSFW language). Croteam’s 3D artist Mario Kotlar, under the username Eagleshadow, the studio behind the Serious Sam franchise, posted on the thread that the studio had to turn down a significant amount of money to make the game exclusive.
However, it later transpired according to PCWorld that Kotlar was not telling the whole truth. Croteam’s CEO Alen Ladavac explained on his own Reddit post, “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 (emphasis our own).” The clarification here is that Oculus was seeking a relationship similar to Microsoft or Sony getting first release of DLC maps for Call of Duty entries for example.
That is not to say that exclusives for different VR headsets is not going to happen. The Sony E3 press conference was full of titles exclusively designed for Playstation VR. Likewise Bethesda make it clear in their own conference that the upcoming Fallout 4 VR version will only be available for the HTC Vive. Oculus and their parent company Facebook are not the only ones pursuing this tactic. How effective this business tactic is in the future however has yet to be seen.