More than a little bit of drama has emerged in the VR community in response to the trend toward exclusives among hardware manufacturers.
Oculus and Sony have devoted significant resources to ensuring its systems have titles either launch first on their platforms or only on them. Meanwhile HTC and its Vive system, which is built upon Valve’s OpenVR platform, have stayed in the good graces of these VR purists by building titles that can be played on the Oculus Rift and other systems like OSVR as well.
HTC is not ready to abandon its commitment to an open platform, but it is using Vive Studios to build and fund titles that utilizes the features unique to the Vive. Joel Breton, VP of content at HTC Vive, said that the studio is committed to building titles that highlight the benefits of full 360-degree room-scale tracking, referencing the limitations of the tracking systems on the Sony PS VR and the Oculus Rift.
For instance, the first title to emerge from the content studio, Arcade Saga, is being built with the Vive as a reference platform. Though creative director J. Epps details that the 2 Bears studio under HTC that is behind the title is “a little bit hardware agnostic,” he also was clear that the team’s focus was on highlighting the strengths of the Vive platform. “We’re building specifically for this hardware and if it happens to work on [other headsets] that’s okay.”
Arcade Saga, which launches today on Steam for $29.99, also fits into HTC’s latest mission of delivering titles that make sense for both home and arcade use. While the US market has yet to appear very amenable to a second coming of the arcade, HTC has already begun seeing success in China where there are currently over 3000 VR-focused arcades where gamers pay per minute for content.
For its part, Vive Studios is committed to both building its own titles and seeking out VR indie dev teams to support financially or otherwise to release content with. Vive Studios currently has about 50 people on its team and Breton is aiming to have “dozens of pieces of content” delivered out of Vive Studios by the end of 2017.