One of the big challenges of virtual reality headsets in today's market is cost and compatibility. Well, Ubisoft wants to make things more streamlined on the compatibility front so that it will make playing with your friends in VR a heck of a lot easier.
According to a report by Gamespot, Ubisoft wants to bridge the gap between VR systems by adding cross-platform compatibility to all their new titles. Right now the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR each have their own respective markets and some games have crossover compatibility -- mostly between the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.
While Facebook tries to keep Rift apps separate from Vive apps, and Sony is trying to build a separate ecosystem with the PlayStation VR, this fragmentation has made VR less appealing to a lot of gamers out there who have to wade through a lot of different headsets and systems to find something that suits their needs. And if your friends have a system that you don't, well chances are you won't be able to play VR games with them... until now.
Part of Ubisoft's initiative is adding cross-platform compatibility between the Vive, PSVR and Rift to all their new and upcoming VR titles, such as Eagle Flight. The idea is to bridge that gap where segmentation has been made between VR headsets, thus allowing different headset users to play games together.
Red Storm senior creative director David Votypka explained that this is part of Ubisoft's plan to bring gamers together, saying...
Strange as this may sound, I actually think this is a perfect move by Ubisoft.
The reality is that the costs and lack of killer apps on all of the VR headsets make them far less appealing than what the manufacturers may be thinking. Until games like Resident Evil 7 come along, there just aren't that many appealing VR titles available, and thus, adoption rates of VR has been slow. With the extra segregated storefronts for each headset, it just makes it harder to justify investing in any either headset right now.
Ubisoft attempting to put games and multiplayer compatibility ahead of brand isolation is a great way to at least entice gamers to check out one headset or another to play games like Eagle Flight or Star Trek with one another.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew, however, has been pushed back into 2017, so gamers will have to wait to get their hands on it. But delaying it while adding in cross-platform compatibility is a neat way to allow gamers to play together and ultimately increase the availability of multiplayer games across Ubisoft titles. This is a fairly essential move to help spread the market growth of VR, which is still very much considered to be a niche enthusiast pastime due to costs and hardware requirements.
Right now it's too early to tell if Ubisoft's new endeavor for cross-platform compatibility will pay off in the long run.