Oculus VR Focuses on Games, Not Hardware, at E3June 11, 2014
by Chelsea Stark
The creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset are spending E3 showing off games instead of new hardware, as the company looks at producing and publishing games for its platform.
The company showed off new titles from third-party developers that it was planning to publish, meaning it would provide financial and marketing support to games built for the Oculus Rift. It’s part of the continued growth into also ensuring quality games are available for the Oculus platform, despite the headset having no commercial release date yet.
The company most recently brought on Jason Rubin, co-founder of studio Naughty Dog, to handle its expansion into first party content.
Three of the games being shown at E3 — all by third-party development teams — all represented very different virtual reality experiences. One was for Super Hot, a game currently on Kickstarter that experiments with the perception of time. When the player moves, time moves regularly; when they stand still, time moves at a crawl, allowing them to dodge bullets.
A more whimsical virtual reality game was Lucky’s Tale, a third-person platformed where players hovered over the shoulder of a plucky fox. While virtual reality experiences usually offer a first-person camera view, Lucky’s Tale’s camera choice gave players a unique perspective over the fox’s shoulder.
On a darker note, Sega’s upcoming horror game Alien: Isolation announced virtual reality support at E3, and a playable demo was also on display. Players had to avoid being attacked by an alien on a derelict space ship, armed only with a monitor that showed them the monster’s presence.
While Oculus VR may be ramping up publishing without a firm release date, Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell said the company wanted to minimize risk to developers by promising a release date it couldn’t totally commit to — until it was absolutely sure it was the right time.
Mitchell did say that Facebook’s acquisition of the company in late March was instrumental in bringing on many hires, like Rubin, who could focus solely on what first-party development and publishing would mean inside of Oculus.