Oculus Kills App That Let Vive Owners Play Rift Exclusives

Oculus Kills App That Let Vive Owners Play Rift Exclusives

Last month we reported on Revive, a proof-of-concept compatibility layer that allowed games exclusive to the Oculus Rift to be played using the HTC Vive headset. This week's Oculus app update took steps to ensure that trick doesn't work anymore.

Revive basically bypassed code checks that tethered games like the delightful Lucky's Tale to the Oculus Rift hardware. Games still had to be acquired legally through the Oculus Home storefront. Revive just allowed those purchased games to run on something other than the Rift.

Released on Thursday, Oculus app update 1.4 adds an additional security step to launching games purchased through Oculus Home. If an actual Rift is not attached to the system, the game or application will not launch.

The move to quash workarounds like Revive was not unexpected. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz last month, Oculus condemned the workaround as a "hack" and warned that future updates were likely to break it.

"This is a hack, and we don't condone it. Users should expect that hacked games won't work indefinitely, as regular software updates to games, apps, and our platform are likely to break hacked software"

Despite warnings, folks are still upset about the Oculus update. Those who purchased software via the Oculus store who now own software they can no longer use are frustrated. Many comments in the Reddit thread on the subject point out how taking steps to ensure Oculus games don't run on non-Oculus software flies in the face of a statement Oculus founder Palmer Luckey made back in December: "If customers buy a game from us, I don't care if they mod it to run on whatever they want."

Responding to the hubbub surrounding the update, Oculus released the following statement (via Gamasutra):

"Our latest software update included several new features, bug fixes and security upgrades, including an update to our entitlement check that we added to curb piracy and protect games and apps that developers have worked so hard to make.

This update wasn't targeted at a specific hack.

When we first learned about hacks that modify our software to interfere with the security, functionality and integrity of the Oculus ecosystem, and allow games to run outside the scope of our QA, testing and support, we immediately notified the community that we will not be supporting or maintaining the long term usability or quality of hacked software.

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."

While there certainly is some legitimacy to piracy concerns — bypassing code checks could be used to allow unsigned software to run — the hardware check doesn't seem to address that aspect of the workaround, as Revive developer Libre VR told Motherboard earlier this week.

"While this helps prevent piracy from people who didn't buy an Oculus Rift, it doesn't do anything to prevent piracy from those who did buy an Oculus Rift," Libre VR told Motherboard. "And this clearly excludes anyone who bought the game, but didn't buy an Oculus Rift. Even if Revive wasn't targeted, they were probably more than aware of the collateral damage."

Over in Reddit the general consensus seems to be that this move will push more hopeful virtual reality adopters away from the Oculus offerings to HTC's Vive and Steam, where the only barriers to playing games on either headset is hardware and controller limitations.

As a Vive owner I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to play Lucky's Tale any time soon, but I'm feeling much better about the virtual horse I've backed.


    This is one of my biggest concerns about VR right there. I think of VR more as something akin to a monitor, TV, or PVR where all content is consumable by any device but the choice between products is based on universal factors such as quality of display and performance. I really don't want to be in a world where I have to have 5 different headsets just so I can play one game or use a particular application. There should be one VR standard that everyone adheres to so people have freedom of choice in what headset they use.

      Yup totally how I see VR headsets, they're monitors, specially if they're for PCs

      It takes time for standards to emerge though. There's still lots of development in the field to be done, and it's far too early to lock things down without risking new and important features being stifled. You already get that with OpenVR not implementing asynchronous timewarp for the Rift, and there's other headsets with unique features like FOVE and it's eye-tracking/foveated rendering which you wouldn't want to see laid to waste.

      To me the biggest problem here is that everyone seems to be demanding that everything be sorted and solved right this very moment when it just isn't possible. Oculus is on the record as wanting to support other headsets in their SDK, and already people are acting as though this will never ever happen and they should be burnt at the stake for it when they haven't even had their own headset released for two months yet. Never mind that Steam didn't add support for Mac or Linux until years down the track.

    Revive already has a version to bypass the DRM:
    Looks like it also lets you play pirated versions of the games, which the previous version didn't. Oops.

    Not sure why people are so mad about this. It is literally PlayStation vs Xbox. Exclusive titles exist for a reason, to push the hardware sale.

      It's not though, it's like saying your Asus monitor can't run games built for an Acer monitor.

        Making the assumption that HMD is a monitor is wrong. Which is like saying since PS4 and X1 are PCs but why can't I play uncharted on PC. It is as stupid as is sounds.

        HMDs have different technology running on them thus the use of different SDK for each of them, just like the consoles, both similar architecture but running on different environment and developed using different SDK, thus you cant put X1 disc to PS4 and expect it to run.

        btw, if there such a thing was possible, Microsoft and Sony would close that loophole even faster than oculus.

        Last edited 23/05/16 11:44 am

          No it's not like a ps4/xbone thing like you've said at all.

          They're the main machine not a peripheral/single part.

            So you are telling me ps4 and X1 can run individually by itself. No problem there.

              So you're telling me to run a ps4 I need a Sony tv?

                Nope. I'm telling you, you can only play uncharted 4 on ps4.

      VR Can't afford to have it's already meagre offerings exclusive to either headsets. More games is a boon to both headsets and the viability of VR in general.

        True but VR is still new, give it another year when indie devs can get ahold of the HMDs easily without waiting for months then we will see more games appearing.

        It is like complaining about X1 and PS4 not having enough games 2-3 months into the life cycle.

    This is so idiotic as to be almost laughable. Why, exactly, do we need DRM for a HEADSET? (Why do we need DRM at all is probably the more apt question, mind you.) VR systems are peripherals, not consoles. The competition between Oculus and HTC should be coming from the hardware capability and pricing, not the games.

    I certainly hope this leads people to move from the Oculus to the Vive. Having used both, I'd say the Vive is a better system anyway. Plus, HTC and Steam aren't trying to lock down the ecosystem with anti-consumer "exclusives" and other console-esque crap. Just imagine if this sort of stupidity was repeated by NVIDIA and AMD.

      Steam kind of already has locked down an eco system...

        Yes, there are store exclusives like Uplay, Origin and Steam. However, last time I checked I can buy a game from any one of those stores and still have it play on my Windows PC. On the other hand, if I have a Vive and I purchase a game from the Oculus store, apparently I can't play that game I've just paid for because I don't have the Rift.

          A good comparison here is that you can buy a game on Steam it is playable on Windows, Linux and Mac. You aren't limited by your hardware or arbitrary DRM, only the developers of the game.

            Right, so having an open platform works really well when you're already the king of that open platform. Don't need to compete, just need to maintain the status quo.

    people are using this to bash oculus... when all they did was protect the Rift environment.

    any game can be coded for any HMD... so any game can have both...

    but no, vive users want cake and someone elses cake...

    you buy a vive for vive software/games/environment... or you buy rift for theirs.. no hackig or cheating your way into honestly coded programs... LibreVR should be sued

      So you'd be ok with AMD getting games created that only run on AMD, even though they're using all the code that'd run fine on NVIDIA, but because of DRM you can't run the game because you have NVIDIA?

        its called gameworks

        and its real for graphics cards

        no stealing tech, its fine if you code your own

          But does gameworks stop you playing the game or do you just lose out on some graphical stuff?

            your being picky..... this guy LibreVR is hacking all games on the oculus platform and basically making them freeware

            its like robbing a bank and giving out free money... which is a fast way to prison

      This is akin to making games exclusive to certain monitors or graphics cards. It's bad for the whole VR industry by limiting already meagre content. If there's only 4 games worth playing and there's only 2 on each platform neither is worth buying. but if you could play all 4 on either then it might be worth it.

        you have an xbox disc

        you cant play that on playstation

        its like xbox users complaining they cant have uncharted 4

        Last edited 23/05/16 11:49 am

          except that a VR headset is a peripheral/single device that requires a PC, where as xbone/ps4 are the main device.

            And back in the day graphics cards were a single device that required a PC and could only run games made specifically for them.

              Soo you want to see one dominate and all the others go bust as happened in those days? Plus big name games like quake came out on multiple hardware cards albeit eventually.

                Same deal here. Eve Valkyrie was an exclusive, but will be coming to PSVR now. Can't remember if Vive is in the works or not for that, but there's plenty of others that have a Vive version coming later once the devs get a chance to work on it. People just need to be patient.

                Also people seem quite keen on Vive dominating/Steam continuing to dominate here, and don't see any problem with that.

            ummm the platform offered with content that is exclusive to the home programs and features is being circumvented and released freely.... programs that are meant for only oculus

            not the hardware
            the hardware can be coded for any program or game regardless of if its vive or oculus

          Imagine games that will only work with Logitech Keyboards or Razer Keyboards. This is how dumb the Oculus exclusives are

          It's not even vaguely the same thing. A game made just for PS4 won't run on Xbox One or PC - extra work is required to make that game compatible with those other systems. A game made for Oculus Rift is perfectly capable of running on Vive - extra work is required to make that game not compatible with other VR systems.

            Extra work is required to port a game made for Rift over to Vive too. It's not like you just click on a radio button that says Vive instead and lol all done.

    That kills off any chance that I will support a Rift.

      sheep go baa m8

        Sheep likes competition, and locking off content for what is essentially a monitor is anti competitive.

          shows how much you know about the VR environment

    I think what a lot of people is forgetting is momey has traded hands. Oculus would have pumped money to the devs to make them exclusive or to help develope these titles. They want and need to recoup that money somehow - and thats through buying their headset and using their store.

    This is likely just a temporary situation while VR is in its infancy and will hopefully change in the next year or two.

    Read between the lines... Dont buy games in the Occulus Ecosystem (store) where ever possible as they apply DRM that could effect any future hardware purchases for generations to come.

    Buy on Steam cause while they prefer you use a Vive they wont cut you off from your games when/if you decide to switch.

    This kind of reminds me of 3dfx / Glide situation 20 years ago. Game developers used Glide to produce 3D accelerated games back when there weren't many options for consumer grade 3D hardware, and 3dfx tried to prevent anyone from producing Glide compatibility shims.

    In the end, everyone moved to wards hardware neutral APIs like OpenGL and DirectX, and 3dfx declined to the point where Nvidia bought them.

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