Valve's Newell: We will fund VR games without asking for exclusivity

Valve's Newell: We will fund VR games without asking for exclusivity
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

June 17th 2016 at 9:37AM

‘We don't think exclusives are a good idea for customers or developers,’ boss of Steam and Vive firm explains

The head of Valve has revealed that the company will support developers building for VR, even if they decide not to release on Valve’s Vive headset.

In an email posted to Reddit, Gabe Newell described VR as a “triple-risk whammy” because it requires “a new developer creating new game mechanics on a new platform”.

Because of the investment gamble required to enter the medium, Newell sees Valve’s position as that of a helper to reduce the risk taken by creators.

“We’re in a much better position to absorb financial risk than a new VR developer, so we are happy to offset that [by] giving developers development funds (essentially pre-paid Steam revenue),” he explained.

In most deals, firms backing a developer or project secure their own investment by requesting exclusivity – either timed or permanent – to their platform, as Oculus has done with titles such as Lucky’s Tale and Insomniac’s Edge of Nowhere.

Making games exclusive to a platform, as it does with console titles, has incited upset among some players, with one coder writing a workaround to allow Oculus exclusives to run on the Vive – much to the chagrin of Oculus.

However, Newell added that Valve will not expect devs to release their games on the Vive at all, if they don't want to.

“There are no strings attached to those funds,” he continued. “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 developer will be less likely to take on deal that require them to be exclusive.”

Speaking more plainly on the subject of exclusives for VR platforms, Newell summarised: “We don't think exclusives are a good idea for customers or developers.”

Pictured: Vive title Hover Junkers