Owlchemy Labs on VR Exclusivity, Language of VR

VR developer Owlchemy Labs (who made Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality) shared their thoughts on various VR topics, such as the “language of VR” and their opinion regarding VR exclusivity. Check out the article here. Here’s a brief look at the article itself.

According to them, they didn’t want to use a 2D menu to exit a game, and so birth the “exit burrito”, a verbs exist in the highly interactive world of Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.

And that’s when we came up with the exit burrito, which is kind of a tongue-in-cheek joke that you could use physical interactions like eating that we already had in the game and apply it to a choice-based selection, like a restaurant’s menu. So it’s like ‘Let’s make the menu a selection of food that you could eat to pick various options.’

They also commented that the “early days of VR as analogous to where developers were in the beginning with touchscreen controls (many threw virtual buttons onto the screen), but eventually new control paradigms and gestures evolved, like the drag and release in Angry Birds or pinch zooming in a strategy title map.” 

In other words, using the unique motion control and make input as intuitive and simple, by equate the action to a real life type of maneuver. They cite Cloudhead with The Gallery as an example, where you reach over your shoulder to get the backpack to access the inventory. In this way, a non-gamer who will have struggle with the controller inputs will be able to enjoy the game rather easily. 

On the topic of VR exclusivity, they states that they adopt the agnostic platform approach, releasing their titles on multiple platforms for multiple revenue streams. According to them, this has allow them to stay afloat financially.

“What that ended up doing for us was it balanced out the risk of having all your eggs in one basket. If we did a sale here and we did a Humble Bundle here and then we did a discount on Blackberry platforms, our revenue graph ended up being much, much smoother because we combined all the peaks and valleys.”

Exclusivity isn’t totally bad however, but should be taken as a last resort. According to them, accepting fund in exchange for exclusivity if your studio is on verge of closing is justified. 

“[VR’s] a tough place to be… We’re in a smaller market. If you have two choices, either going out of business or taking a platform exclusive deal, I see why people do it. If you’re in a position, though, to not have to do it, and you can somehow make it work by not doing it, it seems like it’s only advantageous to the future of VR and to the future of your company to be platform agnostic like we are,” he says.