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Oculus signs exclusive content from Words With Friends creator

Oculus signs exclusive content from Words With Friends creator

Wed 04 Jun 2014 4:00pm GMT / 12:00pm EDT / 9:00am PDT
BusinessTechnologyDevelopment

Paul Bettner announces new studio, Playful, and commits to two games for Oculus Rift

Paul Bettner, co-creator of the massively popular Words With Friends, has revealed his next move, throwing his weight behind the Oculus Rift VR platform. Today Bettner announced his new studio, Playful Corp., and an exclusive partnership with Oculus VR. Playful is one of the first studios committing to exclusive content for the Rift.

In addition to Words With Friends, Playful's team has worked on hit franchises like Age of Empires, Halo Wars, and Starcraft. The studio is debuting Lucky's Tale for Rift at E3 next week. The title is a platforming adventure game designed from the ground-up for VR. Interestingly, despite the VR experience, it's played from third-person perspective.

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"This is not a port. We've made something new, from scratch -- a made-only-for-VR game," said Bettner, who serves as CEO. "The result is unexpected and surprisingly delightful. A platformer in VR? It's a totally new experience, not what typically comes to mind when you think of what a VR game can be. I can't wait to see how people react when they get to play it for the first time at E3."

"Virtual reality -- I mean truly accurate, comfortable virtual reality -- is the most important thing to happen to interactive entertainment in decades," he added. "I know it sounds like exaggeration, but it's impossible to explain what this is like to someone who hasn't experienced it for themselves. Your brain is convinced that you are somewhere else, that you are in another world. I have worked my entire career to get to this moment, to create something like this."

Playful was originally founded back in January 2013 under the name Verse Inc. Besides Lucky's Tale, the company has also agreed to make Creativerse for Rift; that game is an open-world sandbox title that Playful is first launching on Steam later this year.

The buzz around Oculus and VR in general continues to be red hot, but until real software is shown (not just demos) people may remain skeptical. With Facebook's backing, this is likely the first of many announcements from Oculus.

9 Comments

Matthew Hardy Studying Multimedia/Game Design, ITT Technical Institute

42 105 2.5
I demoed the Crystal Cove Rift at PAX 2014. Without question, this is the future of digital entertainment.

Posted:5 months ago

#1

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
Well, it is certainly a solid, very sturdy tree branch of the future of digital entertainment.

Posted:5 months ago

#2
I am interested - with so many other VR HMD's coming out how can they make the game Oculus exclusive?

Posted:5 months ago

#3

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

309 398 1.3
"Interestingly, despite the VR experience, it's played from third-person perspective."

It appears that the early stages of these VR games will consist of a certain amount of throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Which is probably a good thing.

Posted:5 months ago

#4

Justin Biddle Software Developer

163 492 3.0
"I demoed the Crystal Cove Rift at PAX 2014. Without question, this is the future of digital entertainment."

Is it though? Particularly with games. Something I don't think I've heard anyone really touch upon is the inherent laziness of gamers. Most gamers I think, myself included, like to play while couched on the sofa. VR requires you to stand for most of it (and if not it removes a huge amount of the point of vr). Even the wii's motion controls soon gave way to less expansive gestures especially when people realised they could still play while lying in a chair using small remote movements. Apart from the odd 30 minutes or so it doesn't really cater for an activity that most like to sit back and relax while playing.

Posted:5 months ago

#5

Nate Ballantyne QA Manager, Aardman Animations

23 23 1.0
I would certainly enjoy it. It makes a welcome change to sitting on the sofa, each to their own I guess.
Most gamers I think, myself included, like to play while couched on the sofa.
True, but then again, this is the first time we have been introduced to VR. I strongly believe that this is the future of digital entertainment.

Posted:5 months ago

#6

Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online

138 80 0.6
this is the first time we have been introduced to VR
Have we? ;-)

http://www.stereo3d.com/vfx3d.htm

Posted:5 months ago

#7

Justin Biddle Software Developer

163 492 3.0
My point is not that it won't be popular but future of gaming implies it will become the defacto way of playing. I can't see that happening. Most people want to relax while playing. I see it existing more as another form of gaming not the main one. If you've spend the whole working day on your feet you're less likely to want to spend the evening as well on them

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 6th June 2014 11:31am

Posted:5 months ago

#8

Nate Ballantyne QA Manager, Aardman Animations

23 23 1.0
I see it existing more as another form of gaming not the main one.
Totally agree

Posted:5 months ago

#9

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