Oculus Rift, the virtual reality company is quite busy these days as its VR headset is about to ship within seven days and it has to ensure that people will have plenty of content available when they plug into the headset for the very first time.
Keeping that in mind, Oculus held a panel last week at the Game Developers Conference so that developers could get a knowledge of what it’s actually like releasing games for Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR. To facilitate the studios from the beginning of development to when the product is live, it also operates the Oculus Share store. Any games sold through this Share store will provide Oculus a cut of, which could generate $30 million in the market by 2020.
Joe Paley, Oculus engineer explained on that presentation how to share early builds, how can developers can sell their games on their own website and raise money once their product is live.
Developers have to sign up for their Oculus developer account. It will allow the studios to release their games across different channels on a share. If creators want to control who is getting to test a particular version of their game can use these release avenues. Also, a developer can add a YouTube personality or media outlet to the alpha channel, rather than send the raw files for the Oculus game. Then, an email will be sent to that person attaching a link to release the game on the Share store. The developer will have the option to update the game or withdraw the access.
“There are four different release channels,” said Paley. “These are Live, Alpha, Beta, and Release Candidate. The Live channel has a special meaning. The games I upload here are the ones that will go to the Oculus store.”
However, it’s entirely the developers’ decision how they use Alpha, Beta and Release Candidate. This is to authorize the developers to get feedback as per their wish; Oculus doesn’t have any strict restrictions on those channels. That’s why studios are not bound to fill out details and picture fields for their games until it’s time for them to go live. But, the games will go out to Share store once all the details are there.
“The Oculus store is the primary way for users to discover content,” said Paley. “It will also do things like run sales and features.”
Well, if you think the Share store is not curated, you are wrong. Developers must submit their games for approval first before they go live. “They should be, one, finished and delightful; two, should have VR-specific content; and three, should be comfortable,” said Paley.
The developers can generate as many free codes once they get through that. Also, they can sell their codes on their own websites. But to redeem those codes, gamers will still have to use Share store. You must be thinking is there any in-app purchase? Oculus finally confirmed that there will be in-app-purchase in its toolkit, which will work both with permanent content like downloadable add-ons and recurring payments for usable items.
To keep everything painless, Oculus is trying its best to give the developers all of the features they want. Albeit the install base for Rift is tiny, it’s hungry for new games, so it’s very important to keep the developers making more VR games.