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Oculus moving on from investing in smaller VR projects

VR market can now support small and mid-sized teams, Oculus now prefers multi-million dollar investments

Oculus VR is now prioritising larger investments in games for its platform, based on the belief that the VR market is now large enough to sustain smaller, less expensive projects.

In an interview with Road To VR, Oculus VP of content Jason Rubin said that the period where "even an inexpensive title didn't have a lot of opportunity for success" has passed. Small and mid-sized VR teams can now make a profit on their work without help from Oculus

"That doesn't mean we're done with investment, but we move up the investment chain," he said. "So we used to invest $100K, $200K, but we don't have to do that so much anymore because those people can get paid out [from the install base]."

At Oculus Connect last October, Facebook committed $250 million to fund the creation of VR content, matching the amount it had already invested. As such, Oculus remains arguably the single most important investor in the VR market, but Rubin said it is now more interested in the £1 million to $5 million funding range.

"We will [eventually] move into the position where the larger console manufacturers are at," he added, "where they are funding content to fill specific goals, not because it wouldn't get made otherwise."

The recent price-cut to a bundle containing a Rift, Touch controllers and seven games is a signal of Oculus' intent to grow the VR market. While temporary, it is the second time this year that Oculus has lowered the price.

While this can only be positive for the many developers that have committed resources to VR, the exact context of those cuts is still unclear. Oculus hasn't shared sales figures for the Rift, so Rubin's assertion that the market can now support small and mid-sized teams is difficult to assess.

Certainly, there is plenty of evidence that the high-end VR market remains a difficult market, as Brendan Sinclair's recent analysis suggested.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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