Facebook released a software update for Oculus that prevents apps from their rivals to play Rift-exclusive games. The company wants to protect its game library and offer a competitive edge against other competitors like Vive.
Oculus has recently bought several popular games, such as Killing Floor, Giant Cop or Superhot.
The decision was viewed as anti-competitive and impairing the expansion of VR. However, Oculus founder stated that Sony took the same decision with their PlayStation VR and PS4 set.
While in the past, Oculus has removed the copy protection feature from their game library, it is unclear if this time, the company will go back on its decision to protect their games.
Rift is completely dependent on PCs, which are built by several types of manufacturers. Therefore, it cannot block other companies. It was generally seen that the PC market was the one that imposed conditions on VR makers.
As Oculus cannot create itself a PC, it tries to implement a separate system inside the PC environment. For instance, it initiated a partnership with PC companies to release the Oculus Home ecosystem, which is dedicated to gamers. Facebook receives 30% from the sale.
As a response, HTC partnered with Steam’s creator Valve to develop their own separate headset and a series of exclusive games. Valve is still interested in Rift users, as it wants to enlarge their user palette.
While the general attitude in the VR market is one of competitiveness mixed with collaboration, and everyone relies on the general market powers to attract new users, Oculus takes a decision of separating itself from everyone else.
Oculus is a very popular VR headset, even if its sales will not reach this year’s top of the industry. Experts estimate that Facebook will sell 3.6 million Rifts this year, while Samsung is expected to sell 5 million. The next two companies in top sales would be Vives and PSVR.
The cheapest VR set comes from Samsung, with a price of only $99. In comparison, Facebook’s Rift comes with $600 per each Rift.
However, none of these VR sets are independent. For example, Samsung will plan to launch a new project called Daydream-ready smartphones in collaboration with Alphabet – the company that owns Google.
While these overlapping partnerships may fragment the market, Oculus decision to impose exclusivity on its VR games could have a negative effect on the VR industry that is not mature enough in order to sustain brands.
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