Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has expressed further disappointment in Oculus’ “closed platform” for VR.
Sweeney, who has previously decried closed stores like Google Play and Apple, has now turned his sights to VR company Oculus for locking consumers away from certain headset features.
His concerns relate to Oculus’ new Quest headset, which is a standalone device rather than a headset accessory for an existing PC. The existing standalone Oculus Go currently only loads software from Facebook’s Oculus Store, making it harder for users who, for example, want to run apps they’d developed themselves.
Oculus has yet to clarify if those restrictions will affect the upcoming Quest device.
Bleh, a closed platform attempt around VR.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) October 28, 2018
Oculus head of product Max Cohen told UploadVR: “It’s an existential crisis for us to make sure we get data handling right”
Oculus legal team privacy program lead Jenny Hall added: “Privacy is something that we need the entire community of think about, we can’t just fix it or think about it on our own.”
Sweeney, however, believes that the arguments for security and privacy are redundant when it comes to closed systems, and in fact only serves the largest companies who benefit from restricted consumer choice.
A permission-based security model like iOS and Android is the first and strongest line of protection. Locked-down stores do nothing significant to prevent malware; that’s just the old excuse they use to justify their monopoly on digital distribution and commerce.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) October 28, 2018
As head of one of the biggest firms in gaming, however, it’s hard to take Sweeney entirely at his pro-consumer word. Epic famously decided to skip Google Play when launching Fortnite on Android - and shifted the blame onto Google after a launcher issue made it easy to install malware through the battle royale.