SUPERHOT's Oculus Rift Exclusivity Backfires Horribly On Steam

Exclusives never rub you the right way. Originally, you just had to worry about having the right console, but for VR enthusiasts, having the "correct" headset is fast becoming an issue too. No game better reflects this than SUPERHOT, which has seen its Steam review score plummet as players show their disdain for its Oculus Rift exclusivity.

Steam reviews are certainly not the be-all, end-all of video game criticism, but when your title drops into "Mixed" territory, it impacts both your reputation and bottom line. Overall SUPERHOT is cruising along at 86 per cent, but its recent score of 62 per cent tells a different story.

Reading the reviews, the issue isn't entirely a SUPERHOT thing, more a revolt against VR exclusives in general. Take this critique from one player:

With Vitual Rreality [sic] being new tech, the developers of Superhot have decided to make it playable only on Oculus VR headsets thanks to their greed. This is the equivalent of having a company who makes monitors having exclusive games that only play on THEIR monitors and developers agreeing to play along with this terrible scheme.

The majority of recent reviews are in the same vein.

The developer attempted to quell concerns with posts on its Steam community page and website, but the reassurances have clearly not helped.

A Reddit Q&A on the game's VR integration did however provide some insight:

Looking at the general sentiment of our current favorite flamewar, I kinda got the impression most people were angry in thinking that we partnered up with Oculus out of some weird, twisted sense of greed.   So what we gunned for here was to put things into perspective - not only have we been working super close with Oculus since before we were a legitimate studio (and before the internet arbitrarily elected them supervillian of the month :) ), but we also wouldn't even be making SUPERHOT VR at the design level we're doing now if it weren't for that partnering up.

Further reading of that thread suggests it was the technical benefits of the platform and Oculus' support that were the deciding factor. It's also mentioned that the exclusivity may not be permanent:

We'll circle back to other platforms shortly after the initial release. It's likely not even going to be a very long wait. We'll see what's the demand for that, but given that we're not the most likely bunch of gamedevs to compromise on design quality, I'd be surprised if we make a version with a gamepad instead of hand tracking controllers. :)

Unfortunately, as far as the game's Steam reviews are concerned, the damage has been done.

SUPERHOT [Steam]


Comments

    In other words, people are stupid and get riled up over bullshit

      Yeah, it was rather bizarre reading the recent reviews, looking for a reason for the negativity besides the VR issue. Being a developer myself, it's rather scary seeing how quickly people can turn, misinformed or not.

        Yeah its pretty frustrating these days, so much negative feedback just feels hollow and people are so quick to jump on the Internet outrage bandwagon. I really don't understand how this is any different to consoles or iOS exclusives. It's a bit annoying, but not something to kick the game developers over.

          It's like a PS4 game only being playable on Panasonic TV's because Panasonic helped with the development.

            Ah ok cool, that makes sense. Still seems like something to crack it at Oculus over, not the Superhot devs.

              Sure it is. They're taking money (in one form or another) in exchange for propagating exclusivity deals. Just as much at fault.

              It'd be like nvidia making games not work on amd cards or logitech mice being the only supported input device or only Sony monitors can work with a specific title. Baring the obvious implications of this It's farking retarded for an emerging technology to restrict access to it, anyone leading credence to it deserves to get called out on it.

            Well, it's kinda like that except only if PS4 games had to be coded for each TV separately... and then halfway through the games development someone came out with a universal TV API, but you'd already spent a bunch of Panasonic's money developing your game for their cool new TV and you thought maybe you should finish that first and then maybe try to work out how to rework your code for the Universal API (but only if sales are good because you're a small studio and you don't really have the money to spend unless you know it's really going to sell). Of course, you thought through this analogy in a stream of consciousness kind of way and you're not going back now to fix the world's longest run-on sentence,.

              @ Cpt_threepwood
              You know one way to make sure you don't have good sales? To lock people with working hardware out of playing your game, when it's a brand new genre. You said it yourself. One API is Universal. If you develop for that one, then you don't need to worry, because it will work with Oculus's hardware as well. It's really not that hard to support the Vive, especially because any game developed for Vive controllers will de facto work for touch with very little effort.

              Funny you mention the worlds longest run-on sentence, considering you just made one about twice as long.

              Oculus should be locking it to the store, not the hardware, if they want their store to succeed. If I owned a Rift, I would be buying everything I could on Steam, because who knows if the future headset I buy will support my library of games? It's a horrible business move all around. Not the developers fault, but if developers spoke out together, Oculus would probably change its stance.

              But as you can see by the interview, certain developers don't really care, and think we have nothing to complain about.

                Funny you mention the worlds longest run-on sentence, considering you just made one about twice as long.I think he was referring to himself in the third person there.

              Except it's been proven that you don't need to do sh!t to make it work on both headsets. Revive as backed this up 100%. No extra coding needs done to make games playable on both platforms. I mean maybe a little but it's redundant AF.

            I disagree with that statement.

            The game is still perfectly playable on any monitor. It's just the VR that has exclusivity which is an added bonus as far as I'm concerned.

            If the game wasn't playable on anything but VR then I'd kind of understand but that's not the case.

    "Where the men are children, the women are children and the children are children", right?

      I think it's actually more like:
      Where the men are children, the women are children and the children are the most mature of them all.

        I did consider something like that, but then thought of a number of obviously-actually-a-child posts and second-guessed myself. But you're probably right :P

    I wouldn't say Oculus were arbitrarily elected internet villain of the month. The only arbitrary decision that took place was Oculus making their games not open on compatible hardware.

      Miswording? They do open on compatible hardware - right now the Rift is the only compatible hardware :P

        Because games don't work fine using the vive with Revive on oculus home. You're misinformed. If you think "other platforms" doesn't equal gearVR, then you're just drinking palmers koolaid.

          Weird that the guest posts don't come up in notifications. I don't know what you're trying to say with the last sentence, but in regards to using an external hack to support other hardware I don't think has ever counted as "compatibility". Nobody ever tried to claim that a PlayStation controller was Xbox-compatible just because some third parties created an adapter that would make it work.

        Pretty big difference in terms of 'compatibility' from simply not helping something to work on another device as opposed to actively working to block it from working. That's not so much compatibility as... being pricks.

          As far as I know the only information we have on the whole Revive-breaking update comes from the dev behind it and his interpretations of what's gone on. To try and parrot some of the stuff I've seen being discussed, for all we know it could have been something as innocent a dev at Oculus rearranging some things resulting in the hardware check ended up running from one of the DRM modules instead of wherever it was before, so the whole thing was just an unintended accident (some credence to which could be attributed by the lack of obfuscation and how easy it was to get around it, along with its reversal in the subsequent update - also it doesn't make much sense for them to prevent additional software customers, although others suspect it may have been part of an attempt to strengthen negotiations for low-level access to the Vive. Who knows).

      Yeah it's certainly not an arbitrary conclusion when the company has now committed to a variety of things that would be obviously disliked by many.

      Last edited 25/06/16 5:55 pm

    I think steam having the better headset should take off all oculus exclusive games, its not like those Facebook vr sellouts at oculus would do the same for them, pretty sure devs would prefer steam as the better release platform anyways.

      While I dislike VR-exclusivity deals as much as the next person, having tit-for-tat reactions - you have this exclusive, so we're taking that game off our platform! - is just going to spiral down, damage the VR industry and, in the end, hurt the consumer.

      steam having the better headsetDebatable.

        Agreed. Anyone who has tried both (and is willing to have an open mind) generally chooses the Rift as the better headset. Sure the Vive has motion controllers, but that's a separate issue.

          Except the specs are literally better on the Vive..... but sure I bet tons of people are saying rift is better.

          Granted, it seems from reading around the place that some people with a larger head may find the Vive more comfortable than the Rift, but at the very least I'd say they're much of a muchness and it more depends on how well one works for you over the other personally.

          And yes, the specification of "headset" was key :P Keen as for Touch though.

          Uhhh. I've tried both. Rift feels like you're looking through a box or window such as a 3d movie at the theater. Vive feels like you're wearing goggles and seeing the world with them on. Rift makes me literally makes me sick with a lot of the seated games. The only thing rift has is comfort-ability but even that is exaggerated. The vive is fine and can even have better straps added later down the road. The rift looks like it was designed by apple, with a pair of jeans thrown over it. Oh and Rifts nose gap is hilariously huge. It's like their answer to chaperone. "Just look down" lol.

          The rift experience is very lackluster. Mine has been collecting dust since I got my vive. Why? Because Oculus sent out an incomplete package because they just had to be the first to market. Even palmer said VR shipped with a gamepad is just dumb. The rift as it stands is no better than a 3d tv with head tracking. It's pathetic how the fanboys defend it like apple bros defend apple.

            You seem to be lost, r/vive is thataway.

              Great counter argument.
              You've lost your way from r/oculus?

          Anyone who has tried both (and is willing to have an open mind) generally chooses the Rift as the better headset.
          Amusing qualifier there, implying that those who simply prefer the Vive over the Rift are close minded and have some sort of bias.

          Makes your own bias all the more hilarious.

            I'm not sure if your trolling or just making a rediculous assumption. I am pro-Rift and pro-Vive. There is too much division in the VR community, especially from those who back a headset like they back a football team. To get VR off and going, we need to be United and accept different approaches.

      Except Valve are good businessmen and are willing to take everyone's money. They're not stupid. If they have more oculus users on steam, it's a direct kick in the balls to oculus and their crappy facebook-sniffing platform. Read the user agreement. Facebook has it's hands all over it.

    The issue is the game is already out, VR support would be something you consider a patch or at most DLC... instead its a now a seperate development funded through exclusivity. Thats the reason, if this was a new game sure less salt, but the exclusivity for a game already out is a bit of a slap in the face.

    So you already have the game on Steam... well if you go to the Occulus store you can get the VR version... oh you also have a Vive not an Occy, not sorry, we got paid.

    Occulus was originally founded on not having exclusives, their own CEO and senior staff said as much, then they are throwing huge money for exclusives and locking them behind DRM (which they only recinded yesterday after getting every E3 question being about their crappy DRM)

    Of course their is salt, some of it may be exaggirated or hostile (its the internet after all)... but taking an already developed game and saying the VR version is an exclusive on the platform the original game was NOT sold on is a kick in the face.

    This just in, gamers have overblown sense of entitlement!

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the legitimate concerns raised about recent Oculus business practices. Take Giant Cop, a game that was developed for the Vive (the developer was given a Vive to develop it), a developer who solicited funding through Humble Bumble to finish his game and then at the last minute took Oculus money to lock it down as an exclusive. In that case I believe that a backlash was completely appropriate. Anyways, according to Ars, it looks like Oculus is backing off on the DRM check so hopefully we can all just move on.

    The root issue is that PC gamers do not want exclusivity of hardware on their platform. Take a step back and think about it as a consumer who doesn't care about the technical details, the drama or excuses. They are making a near thousand dollar investment in a product and want to simply play any VR PC game they hear about. For nearly three decades PC gamers have not had to worry about hardware exclusivity. If their PC met the performance requirements then they could play the game, period.

    Perhaps if long ago the GPU manufacturers started to develop technologies which caused games to be GPU-series specific, then this adjustment to headset-specific games would be easier to swallow.

    But what we have now is an industry telling us we can't play a game on our choice headset even though the two products are incredibly similar. It's absurd. As has been proven time and time again with console exclusive games, the driving factor is not technical limitations but instead financial decisions or pressure from business partners.

    If they have the best hardware, why do they need exclusives? their specs, should be more than enough to persuade people to buy oculus, but it looks like it is not the case. May be, just may be thousands of gamers do not share your opinion.

    dear writers, Steam reviews mean nothing, please stop using them as a basis for 'news' stories.

      I mean, if you want to ignore the whole bethesda paid mods fiasco being over turned thanks to reviews and internet heat, by all means.

      Actually, I'm not sure if you're aware, but Steam reviews have an impact on how often - if at all - a title turns up on 'recommended' lists, or 'new releases' lists.

      If reviews for a product tank, it's less likely to be featured on the front page. And that's dollars. And dollars DO mean something.

    Still not sure why developers can't just go with a OpenVR development? Doesn't that work with both headsets at once?

      I think it's a condition of being sold on the Oculus store that the software use the Oculus SDK. And would likely be a condition of receiving any funding from Oculus too.

      OpenVR is just a wrapper around the SDK and doesn't provide full feature support (including, somewhat critically, asynchronous timewarp), so to properly support both headsets you'll have to implement both SDKs. There's plenty of reports about how games such as Elite don't run anywhere near as well through OpenVR on the Rift as they do using the native SDK.

        Implementing across both SDK's is negligible at best when acounting for overal game production (although the Oculus SDK is harder to work with). It is besides the point though, as several games by developers (Giant Cop, King Spray) were developed prior on the Vive and had working games that were near complete, until Oculus paid them to make them timed exclusives. Your argument only holds up if the development was done only on the Rift and the implementation would only have worked with Oculus dollars which isn't the case in many of these 'timed exclusives'. Oculus has been out and out paying developers to prioritise their platform and attempt to segregate the PC platform, that much is fact.

          There's plenty of devs who beg to differ on the ease of just chucking in one or the other, I'd hardly call it negligible.

          Also I wasn't arguing anything? Just offering a reason as to why implementing OpenVR only isn't necessarily a solution.

          Nobody just gives away bags of money for no reason, it's always for something in return. If Oculus is going to fund a game, of course they're going to want it prioritised for their platform. And if the devs don't want to do that, they don't have to accept the offer. Nobody is being forced into anything, it's not some kind of hostile takeover like Vivendi's trying to pull with Ubisoft. If the devs chose to go with Oculus over Vive, then that's up to them.

    This reminds me of DOS era hardware compatibility, except it no longer has a reason, and is done anyway.

    In the DOS days, DOS itself provided almost no hardware support.
    Instead, each company would do it's own thing, with it's own drivers, and developere had to sort out the mess...
    Except... Defacto standards developed anyway, by virtue of the earlier or more successful hardware developers creating something that works a certain way, and everyone else copying it, in their hardware.
    Thus, The Ibm CGA, EGA AND VGA modes supported by non-ibm graphics cards;
    Every sound card ever basically emulating adlib, and later sound blaster modes...

    So even without standard api's some developed anyway.
    But it still had a ton of issues (the mess that was SVGA for instance, or joysticks).

    However, no hardware manufacturer went out of their way to block other hardware from working, nor effectively bribed developers to NOT support competing hardware...
    How stupid can this situation get?

Join the discussion!