Oculus is urging developers to bring bigger projects to virtual reality, in order to build a viable audience for the emerging medium.
Head of content Jason Rubin told GI.biz that VR should incubate more ambitious titles in line with their counterparts on PC and console to attract mainstream players – and pledged Oculus’ help to devs to allow them to do just that.
"The average gamer is now aware of $100 million games,” he said. “While we certainly cannot build a $100 million game that takes four years, we can try to get closer to that by funding significant leaps beyond the financial certainty that a developer would need to have to do it on their own.
“In other words, as they look at the market, they may say: ‘I can afford to make a game that costs $500,000.’ Half-million-dollar games are great. Indie games are great, people love those games. But that isn’t the entire sphere of games that they want to see on a platform. They also want to see games that are more expensive.”
Part of the problem, Rubin admitted, is that VR’s install base currently remains too niche for developers to justify aiming at the platform rather than the ‘safe’ options of PC and console.
"As a developer looks at a multi-million dollar production in VR right now, they say there’s no way that will earn its money back in any reasonable amount of time, so instead I’ll go make a non-VR PC game of that scale if I want to because that’s a better bet,” he explained.
“We don’t like that. We don’t want it to be $500,000 games this year, million-dollar games next year, two-million-dollar… and take decades or at least a decade to build itself to the point where you can afford bigger games.”
Rubin reiterated that the investment of VR publishers and platform holders would work to grow VR’s audience, and subsequently make the sector the viable platform required to entice both devs and players.
“What Oculus has said is: ‘Why don’t we throw more money into the ecosystem than is justified by the consumer base?’, which will lead to a consumer base that’s larger,” he said.
“Which will leave that second generation of developers to say: ‘Hey, let’s go build these games because now the consumers are there, and kick-start that decade-long process in a much shorter length of time.’”