There is no money in making VR games right now, ex-DayZ dev Dean Hall says

While some consumers may hate it, timed exclusives help subsidize developing games that will still not make money

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Virtual Reality continues to be a big thing and probably will be for the foreseeable future. A debate has raged in various corners of the gaming community over timed exclusives for games on various VR hardware such as Oculus or the HTC Vive, but one developer says that it is the nature of the beast now, as that is the only way to subsidize VR games that are likely never to make money.

"There is no money in it," RocketWerkz CEO and former DayZ dev Dean Hall said in an extended Reddit post lamenting the backlash many developers are getting for timed exclusives for their games on certain VR platforms. "People talk about developers who have taken Oculus/Facebook/Intel money like they've sold out and gone off to buy an island somewhere. The reality is these developers made these deals because it is the only way their games could come out."

Rocketwerkz own VR title Out of Ammo for HTC Vive, but was not an exclusive deal: "We considered doing some timed exclusivity for Out of Ammo, because it was uneconomical to continue development. We decided not to because the money available would just help cover costs. The amount of money was not going to make anyone wealthy. Frankly, I applaud Oculus for fronting up and giving real money out with really very little expectations in return other than some timed-exclusivity. Without this subsidization there is no way a studio can break even, let alone make a profit."

And Out of Ammo has yet to make money. "From our standpoint, Out of Ammo has exceeded our sales predictions and achieved our internal objectives," Hall said. "However, it has been very unprofitable. It is extremely unlikely that it will ever be profitable. We are comfortable with this, and approached it as such. We expected to lose money and we had the funding internally to handle this. Consider then that Out of Ammo has sold unusually well compared to many other VR games." 

He said that the various VR platforms are a different beast than developing for Xbox One or PS4, which are at least somewhat similar. "[The VR equipment is] very different and it is more expensive and difficult to support the different headsets," he said. "I have always hated multi-platform development because it tends to "dumb down" your game as you have to make concessions for the unique problems of all platforms."

Hall laid out several points to be considered for the masses to consider about VR developmentand it is definitely worth the read if you have questions on the process.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty