Timed exclusives are commonplace in video games but the developer of the PC VR title Arizona SunshineVertigo Games saw it fit to lock content behind hardware specifications.

If that sound’s bizarre that’s because it is. In a post on Steam Vertigo Games explained why it had locked Single Player Horde Mode and Apocalyptic Mode to anybody that wasn’t running a 5th, 6th or 7th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU.

“Working with Intel allowed us to create even more content than we originally planned, including these modes and the physics systems in the game, making Arizona Sunshine one of the richest VR experiences possible,” wrote the developer. So perhaps then the software requires very specific hardware to run such as is the case with Netflix streaming UHD content to PCs. Only, this doesn’t seem to be the case

This response was issued when a Steam user asked why the game modes were available on a machine running an Intel Core i7 6700 but not on a machine running an Intel Core i5 when the i5 was seemingly capable of running the game at full grunt, perfectly fine.

Vertigo’s response becomes even more ridiculous when it was discovered that there are no hardware limitations to the modes. Reddit user Ash_Enshugar discovered a piece of code that white lists i7 CPUs and locks out anything that isn’t 5th, 6th or 7th generation.

Reddit user Ash_Enshugar discovered a piece of code in Arizona Sunshine that white lists the right CPUs.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you that hardware is not the problem this is a snippet of the developer’s response following outcries of foul play.

“It’s clear from your feedback many of you are not happy with the previously undisclosed modes being available only on certain higher end PCs. You are most important to us, and we hear your comments. We are unlocking these modes immediately to all players, and we hope you enjoy them.”

The developer goes on to say that these game modes were meant to be a reward for gamers with high-end VR systems who were looking for the most immersive VR experience.

It’s time to stop

While the content was set to be released to all players in March 2017 it is worrying that a game developer decided to lock content behind hardware specifications and expensive specifications at that.

Some folks will argue that things such as NVIDIA Hairworks are hardware specific but making Geralt of Rivia’s hair look sleeker and locking playable content behind a gateway that requires you upgrade your PC just to play them are two very different things.

Indeed users are not impressed and some have even expressed concerns that this sort of behaviour might become more commonplace. “Can’t wait until only being able to play games if you have a Gigabyte motherboard and not an Asus,” wrote one Steam user.

What’s more is that this sort of behaviour can quickly split the PC gaming community. One need only look at Steam’s own Hardware and Software Survey to see just how much the hardware market is split to realise behaviour like this can damage a developer’s reputation.

As a PC gamer I thank Vertigo Games for reversing it’s decision but now I live in fear that the next game I want to play is locked behind a hardware wall I simply can’t afford to get around.

[Source – Steam]