Back in May, Oculus adopted the controversial position of implementing DRM for games developed for its Rift virtual reality headset, preventing them from being played on the rival HTC Vive hardware. This was very frustrating for VR enthusiasts and developers alike, as the industry is only beginning to take off, and the fear was that locking down games and platforms this early would hinder consumer adoption. Fortunately Oculus has backtracked, removing the DRM that prevented Vive compatibility.
The ability to play VR games released exclusively on the Oculus marketplace on the HTC Vive came from an app called Revive. But only a month later Oculus rolled out an update that included a check to see if a Rift headset was present before allowing a game to run. No Rift, no game.
This new change from Oculus removes that hardware check, allowing cross-compatibility with any game released on the Oculus store.
The VR community was very upset with Oculus’ DRM implementation, as it went against company founder Palmer Luckey’s previous comments about the Rift helping support an open ecosystem for VR. While Oculus said the intent of the hardware check was to fight piracy and protect developers, fans and users saw it as little more than creating a walled garden.
In its statement about removing the hardware check, Oculus added that it “won’t use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future.” However, the company says it’s not totally giving up on copy protection and fighting piracy, as it believes that protecting developers’ content is just as important to the long-term success of VR as an open platform.