Cloudhead Games' Denny Unger shows off a cacophony of VR headsets

Responding to criticisms about the potential for Oculus Rift game exclusivity, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey reaffirms that the company is interested in working with other hardware vendors through the Oculus platform.

While the Oculus Rift may be the first desktop VR headset to support games and experience sold through the company’s storefront, it may not be the only one.

“If customers buy a game from us, I don’t care if they mod it to run on whatever they want,” Luckey writes in response to a user of Reddit criticizing the company’s choice to create games exclusive to the Oculus platform. “The software we create through Oculus Studios (using a mix of internal and external developers) are exclusive to the Oculus platform, not the Rift itself.”

Palmer Luckey
Palmer Luckey founded Oculus in 2012

Luckey reaffirms that last piece means that VR experience sold through the Oculus store could one day support desktop VR headsets other than the Rift, but cautions that making that happen is a challenging task.

“The issue is people who expect us to officially support all headsets on a platform level with some kind of universal Oculus SDK, which is not going to happen anytime soon,” writes Luckey. “We do want to work with other hardware vendors, but not at the expense of our own launch, and certainly not in a way that leads to developing for the lowest common denominator – there are a lot of shitty headsets coming, a handful of good ones, and a handful that may never even hit the market. Keep in mind that support for the good ones requires cooperation from both parties, which is sometimes impossible for reasons outside our control.”

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Luckey defends the company’s rhetoric against critics, saying that his comments  are “exactly what we have been saying for years,” citing Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe saying back in 2014, “We are openly talking to any kind of partner that wants to jump into VR, and there’s a lot of interest right now.”

Perhaps Oculus’ biggest competitor, Valve, is pushing ahead with efforts to support multiple headsets, including the Oculus Rift, with their ‘OpenVR’ SDK.

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  • Paul Jensen

    If you don’t make it open it will fall by the wayside

    • Carl Usick

      Or own the entire market. With the virtual collapse of Valve’s shot at beating Oculus to the public, it is theirs to lose.

      • brandon9271

        Lighthouse is superior tech to IR tracking though.. Thats the main reason I would chose Vive over the Rift.

        • MasterElwood

          Just because it has “freaking lasers” doesn’t mean its superior. Yeah – “laser” sounds cooler than “IR” – but everyone who tried the touch demo said that the tracking is “rock solid” – and covers a real big space – even with 2 cameras. And the rift supports up to 6 cameras at the same time. could be its just as good in roomscale tracking as the vive. could be its not. Fact is: we just don´t know (yet)…

      • user

        fanboy account? this is the third comment that i read from you and every comment is basically the same.

        • Carl Usick

          At this point, there is only one contender, so I guess we’re all fanboys now, and yes, I did pile on yesterday with basically the same comment on every mention of Vive finally admitting the truth. There was never any chance of a 2015 release, and they knew it internally, so I had a little fun at their expense. So sue me.

          Honestly, I agree with Brandon below. I really like the lighthouse system for tracking, and would have probably bought Vive if it was for sale right now like they told everyone it would be. (That is assuming that it was anything like they promised and under 1000 dollars, which is a big and unreasonable assumption with what they have shown about the accuracy of their projections).

          Oops, I’m piling on again.

      • kalqlate

        Not even close. I’ve got money burning a hole in my pocket for high-quality VR, but I’m going to wait until both headsets are available, go to a nearby meetup where they are both demoing, get the experiences, review available software, review their SDKs, then buy one and have some fun and do some development as well. Heck, if the other one is less than $700, I’ll eventually get that one too.

        However, SMART money will go for the Vive if they are successful with compatibility with Rift out of the box. If so, think about it? If they are priced similarly, what benefit would there be with Rift if Vive can run Rift experiences and run them well?

        I have no doubt that Rift will outsell Vive many times over–but not for being first to market. Rift will greatly outsell Vive because Facebook will market the Hell out of Rift to its members and also have compelling social telepresence and social VR world apps exclusive to Facebook members. Valve will do the same with marketing Vive to their game platform members. Expect both headsets to EVENTUALLY be wildly successful, but Facebook sells of the Rift will roll like thunder because of network effects–“My Facebook friends are getting Rifts to enjoy socializing in VR. I better get one too!”

        • Carl Usick

          @kalqlate:disqus I think we pretty much agree on this subject, but are just coming from different directions. I also have plenty of money to buy whatever is the best VR device that is available. Vive does seem cool and more gamer-centric, but there isn’t even a consumer version for you to test out. It’s still just an idea.

          We know what we will be able to get from Oculus, it is already out there. Everyone might get the chance to rag on them if they delay past the first quarter 2016. Fair is fair. But right now, money or not, there is only one headset that is realistically available in the coming months.

          While it seems that they have pushed the state of the art as far as possible at this time, I don’t expect the Rift to be all that great. It will be the best of the lame, low rez, alien parasite looking monstrosities that represent the pinnacle of human inventiveness at this time. Point me to something better, and available, and supported, and with content, and I’ll be there with you throwing money at it.

    • crim3

      Surely people want to hear “ok, will make our own SDK hardware agnostic, but it’s challenging, so it will delay the release one more year” ;)

  • Brian Kline

    I personally don’t want to see VR derailed this time around by people buying the cheapest headsets on the market and then saying “Wow, VR sucks!”. Oculus is trying to ensure that VR works this time. Anyone who was around in the 90’s when the rhetoric wasn’t backed up by reality understand how important it is to do it right this time around. It’s a delicate balancing act and Oculus is trying their best to walk it. Oculus isn’t just about software, they’ve spent so much time making sure their hardware meets certain standards. Minimal lag, widest field of view, positional tracking, etc. If you could run their software on the Viewmaster VR people would really get the wrong impression of what good VR actually is. It would fail if they bent over backwards to every idiotic Reddit rant.