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More like Microsoft than Apple: Carmack wants Oculus to keep older VR games alive

More like Microsoft than Apple: Carmack wants Oculus to keep older VR games alive

September 26, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

September 26, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon
More: VR

Cross-platform VR compatibility is one area where Oculus has made recent strides, and CTO John Carmack hopes that the company keeps those developments coming as VR continues to grow as a platform.

The preservation of older VR games was one of the many topics Carmack mused on during his keynote at Oculus Connect 6 earlier today, and one that he as a developer is quite invested in.

Though making games built for one VR platform work for another can be a tricky technical affair even in the same family of devices, Carmack says he doesn’t want Oculus to follow in the footsteps of companies like Apple in regard to how older games are treated.

In 2017 Apple ended support for 32 bit apps on iOS, making it so older games cannot be played on modern devices without an update and removing those now outdated titles from the store. A similar move is planned for 32-bit apps on Apple’s MacOS this year.

So far, decisions like bringing some Oculus Go emulation to the Quest and the recent announcement of the Oculus Link seem to indicate that Oculus is doing its part to make sure parts of its library don’t fade into obscurity. Carmack notes that he’s happy Oculus has been working on bringing top Go apps to the Quest despite some technical hiccups along the way and hopes the program later expands to include the headset’s entire library.

“I do care about preservation and archiving,” says Carmack. “I’d like us to be more like Microsoft than Apple in this regard, where every program I ever wrote for iOS is lost to the ages now since Apple disabled 32-bit support. I don’t want that to happen to the earliest VR apps. I want it to be possible to have a retro VR scene 20 years from now with people going and trying the first consumer mobile VR apps.”

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