Full version of Gear VR strategy game Darknet going free at launch
Early virtual reality adopters in for a real treat
Indie game developer E McNeill has been showing off his unique virtual reality strategy title Darknet all around the global game shows, and it's picking up a strong following after winning best gameplay at the Proto Awards.
McNeill is planning on his cyberpunk game being a launch title for the Samsung Gear VR, which uses a Note 4 as the display and brains of a VR headset. But he's faced with a dilemma that most indies will appreciate.
The Gear VR's digital game store, powered by the Oculus Rift platform, won't include any monetisation options at launch. Making money from VR games will be introduced later, probably when the Rift itself eventually makes it to the shop shelves.Virtual money, real bills
Most devs are approaching this issue by preparing lite versions and demos for the early days of Oculus gaming, with full, premium titles queued up ready for the store's update. Whenever that might be.
Not McNeill. "Essentially, I’m making a risky game for a risky platform with a risky launch strategy," he tells us. Although he intends Darknet to retail for $10 when the option is available to him, he isn't holding anything back from early adopters, and is offering the full game for the bargain price of zero.
"I don’t think it’s completely insane," he reassures us. "Darknet is designed to be one of the deeper, more hardcore launch titles for Gear VR. If it's also one of the only full premium games available, I think it could really stand out."
He's not wrong on any aspect of his strategy. It's obviously a risk, giving the game away for free, but he's correct that virtual reality gamers will be clamouring for something substantial to play. Demos will only provide novelty value for a short period, before people want to see what their expensive new Gear VR can really do.
"Of course, in the long term, this strategy only works if the game is actually good, but I have faith!" McNeill concludes.
And so do we, actually. Check it out.