Towards the end of last year, both Dean Hall and Joe Radak—game developers who've both worked on virtual reality-exclusive games—wrote at length about the difficulties of turning a profit in VR development. Both explored issues pertaining to exclusivity deals, player expectation, relative market pricing, and internal budgeting, among other things—the sum of which painted a pretty bleak picture for the medium and its future.
Job Simulator developer Owlchemy has however announced its VR-exclusive game has accrued $3 million in sales to date; something it chalks up to the quality of its work. "Even in these early days of VR, if you build a quality piece of content, there’s potential for a large audience and solid sales," so reads a press release.
Speaking to the finer details of Job Simulator's success, Owlchemy's CEO Alex Schwartz suggests the game's spectator mode coupled with the fact it doesn't take itself too seriously is what makes it work.
"I think a huge part of Job Simulator’s success comes from how fun it is to just watch someone play around and be silly in VR," says Schwartz. "Tons of people have seen their favorite YouTuber play around in the physics sandbox that is our game, and that’s great for showing everyone how interactive and magical VR can be."
Schwartz continues: "These earliest attempts at mixing real-life video footage with virtual reality are the best way to show people what it truly feels like to be inside of a virtual space so we’re letting streamers and content creators easily share VR footage that’s clear, understandable, and ready for mainstream viewers."
Perhaps it's not all doom and gloom for virtual reality development, then, however time and cost will almost certainly define long-term interest into the future. In the meantime, here's Tim's review of Job Simulator—a game he described as "genuinely amusing and one of the slickest VR experiences to date" last year.