Anti-consumer policies continue to riddle the gaming industry
With the release of the Quest VR headset 3 weeks ago it felt like a new era of virtual reality gaming was being ushered in, with Oculus at the helm and the powerhouse of Facebook’s deep pockets supporting it. VR has never been as freeing and immersive as it is with tetherless 6DOF VR. Unfortunately, freedom appears to have its bounds as long as it wants to be included in the Facebook ecosystem.
Over the last few months Guy Godin, the creator of the long-beloved Virtual Desktop application, has been working on implementing the most requested feature he has ever had for his application. 6DOF PCVR streaming, now with no cords required, courtesy of the Quest’s new wireless technology. After investing tremendous effort the long-awaited feature was finally released this past week, and I can attest, it is a marvel of software engineering. It’s an incredible feature that just works wonderfully and easily as if it had been there all along.
This new feature also opened other doors such as cloud-based PCVR streaming to the Quest. This means Skyrim VR could be played wirelessly, in 6DOF, with nothing more than a Quest, and a cloud gaming service. In other words, every PCVR title could be available to thousands of Quest users, without the need to invest $1,000+ dollars into a PC gaming rig.
Yesterday Guy took to Reddit to deliver the bad news to the Oculus Quest community. Oculus is forcing him to remove the streaming feature from his app entirely, effective immediately. Now, it’s obvious that they have profit-driven reasons for this. The feature would likely decimate the already less than stellar sales of the Rift S. Not to mention, drive some software sales to the Steam VR store. But that doesn’t change what this really means to us as gamers. Oculus is willing to go as far as censoring developers, and blocking system-selling features in order to squeeze every dollar and cent they can out of the owners of their devices. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel dirty spending money on their store as a result. Like I’ve got some Facebook stuck to the bottom of my shoe.
It’s important that we early adopters of the Quest voice our discontent with this move. Sharing a small cut of profit because the ingenuity of developers created one of the most wanted features of all time would’ve been an admirable move and likely would have sold more units. But instead, Oculus has chosen to go the way of their parent company, championing anti-consumer practices, and censorship. Gamers are done with this toxic walled garden approach and it’s up to us to continue putting pressure on the industry if we hope to see change.
It’s no secret that the Quest is doing well, reporting over $5 million in software sales in the first two weeks since the device’s launch. How much they will lose by pissing off their community remains to be seen, but I wager it will be significant, with Guy’s Reddit post becoming the most awarded and upvoted post of all time on the r/OculusQuest subreddit in less than 24 hours. Thankfully, Guy has gone the extra mile by announcing he will be offering a full-featured version of Virtual Desktop to users that can be sideloaded onto the Quest (sideloading is a feature that developers use to test their games before they launch on the Oculus Store).
If you would like to voice your discontent with these anti-consumer practices, leave Oculus some feedback on their UserVoice page here.