Oculus locks out Vive users with new DRM

Chris Scott Barr - May 20, 2016
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Oculus locks out Vive users with new DRM

Last month we found out that there was a way for HTC Vive owners to play games that were only meant for use with the Oculus Rift, called Revive. This was pretty big news, as it was the first time that anyone had been able to do it. And while it was a hack, users were happy to be able to use their hardware with games that they want to play. Unfortunately, that fun has come to an end, thanks to an update from Oculus.

If you haven’t been closely following the VR scene, you might not know that not all games can be played with both headsets. Namely, any game that is only available on the Oculus store will not work with a Vive. This isn’t due to some limitation of the headset that makes the games incompatible. It’s just Oculus’s way of keeping exclusive titles exclusive.

Yesterday, Oculus released a new patch for their platform, and among the bullet points for the update was one that read “bug fixes and security updates, including updates to platform integrity checks.” That might not seem very important at first, but in reality, what they were saying is that they patched the method that Revive used to make the games playable with the Vive.

fractured-vr

Today, the developer of Revive confirmed to Motherboard that this most recent update has essentially killed the project. The new DRM actually checks to see if your computer has an Oculus Rift attached to it. If it doesn’t detect the headset, then it will prevent you from playing your games.

Will exclusive titles kill VR before it takes off?

What’s interesting is that an Oculus spokesperson had this to say about the update, “we take the security, functionality and integrity of our system software very seriously and people should expect that hacked games won’t work indefinitely as regular updates to content, apps and our platform may break the hacks.”

Now pair that with a comment that Palmer Lucky (founder of Oculus) made on Reddit at the beginning of the year. “If customers buy a game from us, I don’t care if they mod it to run on whatever they want. As I have said a million times (and counter to the current circlejerk), our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware – if it was, why in the world would we be supporting GearVR and talking with other headset makers? The software we create through Oculus Studios (using a mix of internal and external developers) are exclusive to the Oculus platform, not the Rift itself.”

It seems that the stance of the company has changed somewhat, over the last few months. We’ve reached out for a comment from Oculus, and we’ll update once we have one.


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