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Newell weighs in on VR exclusives

Valve head says tying development funds to specific hardware is bad for customers and developers

Oculus has taken some flack lately for its efforts to keep Rift games from other headsets, but don't expect to be that territorial when it comes to HTC Vive games heading the other way.

Reddit poster elpollodiablo187 recently posted an email exchange with Gabe Newell (one a Valve representative verified as authentic to GamesIndustry.biz) in which the Valve founder clearly stated his distaste for the idea of securing games exclusively for HTC Vive.

"We don't think exclusives are a good idea for customers or developers," Newell said.

As he explained, there's already an inordinate amount of risk for VR developers at the moment. In addition to all the usual risks associated with game development, they're working with new mechanics on a new platform. And as Newell pointed out, many of those embracing the field are upstart game developers themselves.

"We're in a much better position to absorb financial risk than a new VR developer, so we are happy to offset that giving developers development funds (essentially pre-paid Steam revenue)," Newell said. "However there are no strings attached to those funds. They can develop for the Rift or PlayStation VR or whatever the developer thinks are the right target VR systems. Our hope is that by providing that funding that developers will be less likely to take on deals that require them to be exclusive."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.