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Is this the Poor Attitude from Developers/Publishers which hold VR back?

Shadowmask72
Level 15
CDPR spill some inner thoughts on VR and it's quite disappointing. It's a poor attitude many developers and publishers most likely share.  Whilst it's understandable it's all about the mainstream $$$, at the same time where are the inner gamers from these people. Have they lost that spark? VR enthusiasts all know VR is more immersive than 2D gaming so why aren't these developers taking a leaf out of Valve/Oculus' book and trying to push the medium further? I mean look at the developers of Hellblade who dedicated a team to make the VR version. They were a passionate crew who had a vision for their game and made it happen. Look at how successful Resident Evil 7 was/is with the 2D/VR combo. The 2D game subsidised the VR offering so the problem of mainstream and lost $$$ wasn't an issue at all. I am saddened when I hear such things.

I will mention again my chat with developers at Gamescom this year with one game looking like a perfect candidate for VR and asking them about it. Their response was it made them all sick so they decided not to pursue it further.  So it looks like the chicken & egg scenario here. Developing for VR isn't ever going to progress at any reasonable pace when the numbers of users is so small.  Consumers aren't going to adopt VR if the software isn't there. Valve is somewhat different to most as they have a vested interest in the medium given their hardware production, the same with Oculus. Everyone else it seems sits on the fence and plays the waiting game ( the lovely Bethesda excluded). 

My takeaway from this is and bear in mind the huge PROFITS these companies make.

"WE LOVE VR BUT ONLY WHEN OTHERS TAKE THE FINANCIAL HIT."

https://twinfinite.net/2019/11/cyberpunk-2077-developer-comments-on-next-gen-consoles-multiplayer-an...

Asked about whether they’re worried that Half-Life Alyx could pull some gamers away from Cyberpunk 2077 and CD Projekt could release some of its games on virtual reality platforms, we hear that VR remains a “nichy niche” market. Alyx is probably a big effort from Valve to expand that niche, which is defined as “very, very, very, and I could add a few verys here, small.”

From a market perspective CD Projekt isn’t worried because it’s a very different niche. While Valve is trying to push the market, CD Projekt is targeting the mass market as it is now, which is major consoles and PC without the need of VR gear.   

In their conversations with other publishers, CD Projekt is unaware of hard pushes for VR, and they have not heard of anybody building an actual solid business on that niche.

That being said, this “can very well change” in the future, but it’s definitely not going to be the case in the first half of next year, and probably not even further in 2020. 
At some point VR might become mass-market entertainment that will validate the business around it, but that’s not the case for CD Projekt right now.

Speaking further of possibly releasing past games on VR, the executives mentioned that to prepare a game for VR one should design for VR. They’d “rather work on new great things than on older stuff.” That’s not always true as we can see with The Witcher 3 on Switch, but that’s the general attitude.
Incidentally, the release of  The Witcher 3 on Switch is generating additional revenue, but it isn’t comparable to the release of a new game. Sales are in-line with expectations.

Polish studio CD Projekt has just published its third-quarter earnings report for 2019, and has cited the release of Witcher 3 on Switch as one of the key reasons for a 38% revenue jump year-on-year.

In the last quarter, CD Projekt Capital Group posted 92.9 million PLN in sales revenues, scoring a net profit of 14.9 million PLN (£2,977,832.05).



System Specs: ASUS NVIDIA RTX 3090 TUF GAMING OC 24GB , i9 9900K CPU, 16 GB DDR 4 RAM, Win 10 64 Bit OS.
32 REPLIES 32

Kentobi
Level 7
I think you answered your own question. Valve is in a unique situation that they can throw a ton of money at the VR problem and be OK without seeing immediate returns. Other companies have to make decent money in the short term. VR is such a small market that the revenue just isn’t there yet. Quest is the fastest growing VR market, but it’s orders of magnitude smaller than the mainstream market. Until the profits are there, the developers won’t be in a big way.   

Shadowmask72
Level 15
I'm not so sure that Valve's Half Life Alyx announcement is going to increase sales of the Valve Index dramatically. The VR market is quite fragmented so people have lots of choice to still be able to play it. You can pick-up some pretty cheap WMR headsets for example. Valve obviously know this and are doing the right-thing by making sure no-one gets left out. That will hopefully convert to increased software sales in the long-run for them.  At the end of the day though it's quite possible Valve could lose money on this project for the greater good.  My point is, lots of publishers sit on huge sums of profits - CDPR not so much as they aren't a publishing giant.  Why aren't the likes of EA, Activision, Ubisoft and even Microsoft and Sony (to a lesser degree) investing in top quality (bigger budget) VR experiences that don't necessarily have to fit the mainstream gaming business model? Sure, they are businesses about maximizing profits (micro-transactions anyone) but why not put something back into the gaming communities they exploit. It almost looks like a belief that VR isn't going to go anywhere, it's a fad so they either sit on the fence, or tentatively dip their toes in with low-budget projects. 

A real shame in my view as VR has come a long way since the Vive and Rift CV1 released. The library of decent VR experiences has grown exponentially. It's no longer a haven of gloried tech demos.

Activision ATVI, -1.21%  reported third-quarter net income Thursday of $204 million, which amounts to 27 cents a share, versus $260 million, or 34 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were 38 cents a share. Revenue fell to $1.28 billion from $1.51 billion in the year-ago period.




System Specs: ASUS NVIDIA RTX 3090 TUF GAMING OC 24GB , i9 9900K CPU, 16 GB DDR 4 RAM, Win 10 64 Bit OS.

zork2001
Level 7

Whatever is all I have to say. This has been the statement from the start of VR conception. I have been following VR since the day the DK1 was announced and bought every headset that came out. I have downloaded every game that was supported at the time and have seen the progression of VR first hand. For literally 3 years the Dk2 was sitting on my desk because it was the only HMD available and I would try anything that was posted to oculus web page. I remember they posted a demo of “I expect you to die” that blew me away because motion controllers did not exist as even a concept but the game let you use your mouse as an arm, you could pick up any item than use your scroll wheel to bring it to you or away from you; click to have the item float in mid air; double click to have it drop to the floor. It felt like you could really interact with things.

When the DK1 was released Palmer Lucky whent to a small conference and someone asked him what he thinks the future of VR and HMD’s is going to go. He said eventually all the computing will be on board the HMD with no wires. 7 years later we know have the quest.

Boneworks is coming out in a few weeks. I think we will finally get a taste of what VR 2.0 interactions in a games will be like.


snowdog
Level 15
Like I've said in another thread we won't see the majority of publishers and developers developing VR games until Microsoft have a VR headset available for the NextBox.

There are currently only 2 platforms for developers to cater to and those two platforms don't have that many owners compared to flat PC and consoles.

We need Microsoft to jump in and bring VR to their consoles before we start seeing widespread support for VR from developers and publishers.

Developers have also been hampered by Sony's bizarre design decisions for the Move controllers too.
"This you have to understand. There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken."

Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever

Shadowmask72
Level 15
Not sure I follow your reasoning Snowdog that it's all on Microsoft and their next Xbox especially in light of PS4 sales compared to Xbox One. Are you suggesting that when both Sony & Microsoft have a VR headset available it then might become "profitable" for publishers to invest in VR projects because they can release on both platforms followed by PC like the 2D business model? 

Unfortunately, adoption of PSVR whilst good in comparison to PC headsets is still very low in light of how many people own PS4 consoles. I believe this is what Microsoft are looking at when holding-off going all-in on VR for Xbox and to a lesser degree PC.

Another sad thing is Sony doesn't seem in much hurry (at least publicly) to make a revised PSVR or PSVR 2 for PS5 next year (again probably due to cost). The Move+camera is cheap for them even if it's not ideal.  If Sony did make a new PSVR and adoption rates increased as a result then we might see some interest from Microsoft. If that was the case then it could be several years away though.

I think the cost issue is really the stigma here even for console gamers.  If you recall how Microsoft bundled Kinect with the Xbox One initially, if that approach was used for the console market - an Xbox console that comes with a VR headset as standard - then we would see huge strides. Unfortunately we come back to my original point of companies not willing to take the risk and or financial hit. 


System Specs: ASUS NVIDIA RTX 3090 TUF GAMING OC 24GB , i9 9900K CPU, 16 GB DDR 4 RAM, Win 10 64 Bit OS.

snowdog
Level 15
There's less risk involved for a publisher developing for 3 platforms instead of 2 because development is cheaper.
"This you have to understand. There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken."

Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever

RedRizla
Level 15
Might help if VR games are produced for all VR headsets instead of having different stores and VR games like Resident Evil only been available for Sony VR etc. Just one great game can make someone purchase a VR headset, but games spread across different headsets is ridiculous if you want millions of people in VR.

Edit: Just want to say devs are a bit daft for saying VR games make you sick. The only time they make you sick is when they are not made properly for VR. They should look at how games like Onward were made by a single dev before coming out with such ridiculous statements like VR makes you sick. The only part of VR that actually makes me really sick, is these devs not helping to move it forward 😄

snowdog
Level 15
Developing for different REALLY isn't a problem for developers, you need to have different control schemes for different headsets (and that's only when you take PSVR into account due to Sony's terrible design decisions with the Move controllers) and with the Oculus Store you can't have SteamVR binaries in there for some reason but developing for different platforms (PS4, Xbox and PC) is as simple as building the project for different platforms. It's basically the click of a mouse.

As far as testing is concerned it's also pretty easy because generally functional bugs are shared across multiple platforms, so if you have a bug in the PC SKU it's highly likely (unless it's a Standards bug or a bug associated with different control schemes in the case of VR games) that the very same bug is there for ALL platforms.

When testing games that are multi-platform in the Alpha stage I used to see button prompts for the 360 controller on the PS3 which freaks you out the first time you see it, because the 360 was the lead platform. 😄
"This you have to understand. There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken."

Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever

kevinw729
Level 15
Interesting conjecture, though @Shadowmask72 - I wonder if it is not the "ecosystem" engineered by the headset manufacturers which is not the greater burden on deployment?
https://vrawards.aixr.org/ "The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Home-Immersive-Entertainment-Frontier/dp/1472426959