Oculus head of content Jason Rubin talks Touch pricing, VR exclusives

Rubin believes platform exclusivity is a good thing, as is having multiple input modalities to choose from.


GameSpot caught up with Oculus head of content Jason Rubin at last week's annual Oculus Connect to get his thoughts on the Touch controller, Sony's VR headset, and myriad other topics.

Rubin immediately dug into the meat of how Oculus arrived at its $199 price point for Touch controllers, which are available for pre-order ahead of the projected December 6 release date. "The competitive products that are out there are at about the same price point for the same quality," he pointed out. "If you look at the [total room scale] price and then you compared us to our nearest competitor, they're $80 nominally less, but they don't give you a controller, they don't give you a remote, and they bundle in a lot less software, so if you look at the price point to get to the highest quality of VR, we're at about the same price point."

GameSpot raised an interesting point: the introduction of a Touch could potentially fragment development efforts by forcing developers to choose to choose between optimizing their software for Touch or traditional gamepads. Rubin sees that concern as a nonissue, however.

"There’s a world in which everyone could’ve decided that [room scale] was the mode we were building for, but it's unclear to us how many people are actually going to have large rooms that they're going to dedicate to VR," he reasoned. "Are they going to clean out their garage? Are they going to clean out their living room?"

Ultimately, Rubin believes developers will choose an input modality that works best for their games. "I just came from a panel we gave with four developers on stage who chose four different games to make, and they had four different control specs. We don't know where control is going. We're not paternalistic, and we don't think one control is necessarily the right way of going. We see a marketplace that, even if Oculus disappeared tomorrow, would’ve been fragmented anyway. I just don't see that argument."

Moving on, talk turned to platform exclusivity. Oculus has invested $250 million to date into Oculus exclusives—one major reason why the company prefers to keep funded titles on its platform. It makes sense: if you cut the check, you deserve to be among the first in line to reap profits. However, many believe the downside to exclusivity is stunted growth during this crucial phase for VR, still a nascent tech.

Rubin disagrees. "We’re driving the innovation with that dollar amount. What we’d love to see is everybody match us and everybody push things forward. I’d love to see exclusive content come out on other platforms, as it is on PSVR, as it will on [Google’s] Daydream--more and more of it. We have absolutely no problem when they announce exclusives. We think that's a good thing, because as I said in my part of the keynote, I think that helps not only the titles we fund, but what we learn spills out into the community."

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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