Oculus Stops Blocking App That Lets Vive Owners Play Rift Exclusives

Oculus has been under enormous pressure in recent weeks over an unexpected decision to prevent competing headsets from playing Oculus games, but the company appears to have reversed course. Games bought through the Oculus store don't natively support Valve and HTC's Vive headset, but user-developed piece of software called Revive allowed Vive owners to buy Oculus-exclusive games and play them.

In late May, Oculus added a "hardware check" that broke Revive. If you weren't using an Oculus headset, games wouldn't load. This prompted the developer of Revive to modify the software's code to sideload games, making Revive ripe for piracy. The developer publicly said he didn't want to go in that direction, but claimed he had no choice.

The company has been under intense criticism the last few weeks. There wasn't an E3 interview with Oculus that didn't include questions about this, which seemed to go against the spirit of inclusivity that Oculus was founded on, prior to becoming a Facebook company.

Oculus appears to be listening; the hardware check is now gone.

"We continually revise our entitlement and anti-piracy systems," the company said in a statement, "and in the June update we've removed the check for Rift hardware from the entitlement check. We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future."

That's an encouraging line: It's never coming back.

Word about the hardware check disappearing was first reported by CrossVR, the developer of Revive, on reddit.

"I'm getting reports from multiple users that the headset check is indeed removed," said CrossVR. "I don't think they changed their stance on exclusivity, but they're at least willing to meet us halfway by letting us mod our games. I'm delighted to see this change and I hope it can generate a lot of goodwill for Oculus."

He's right.

"We believe protecting developer content is critical to the long-term success of the VR industry," the company continued, "and we'll continue taking steps in the future to ensure that VR developers can keep investing in ground-breaking new VR content."

Translation: Oculus will keep funding exclusive games, but if people want to use mods to buy those games and play them on a Vive, that's OK.

Good on ya, Oculus. This is the right move.


    we could have done it (objected) in less of a toxic manner however... smh

    Last edited 25/06/16 7:51 am

      Could've... but then it wouldn't have worked.

      Actually, this is something that really annoys me. We can complain til the cows come home about how gamers/internet randoms in general can be loud, obnoxious, abrasive, 'toxic', whatever... but the thing that annoys me the most about that is that it's entirely understandable.
      The Powers That Be TRAINED consumers to be like this.
      This is the direct result of ignoring the gentler voices until those voices change to something harsher. Until reviews start getting bombed, until loud an angry awareness rises above the general din of the every day else.

      By only making changes when they absolutely HAD to, to avoid financial catastrophe. To avoid developers being afraid of getting into bed with someone who was going to tank their review scores. To avoid being widely known as The New Bad Guy.

      You honestly, sincerely think that there weren't immediately calmer, less vitriolic complaints? For MONTHS? Of fucking course there were. And those voices were ignored. Change ONLY happens when people get angry enough; not because the cause was right, but because the fallout was damaging. THAT is when things change.

      That's not on the people complaining. That's on the people who teach us that there is only one kind of complaint they'll actually listen to.

      Last edited 26/06/16 6:36 pm

        if you want to make a change to the outcome, get involved, not yell from the sidelines.

      As it stands right now, the biggest threat to Oculus is the Vive.

      Oculus games are a subset of Vive games.

      Steam will always want to keep it that way. Also I think Valve thought Oculus was going to be integrated with Steam at the start but realized they were going to sell games, which is a threat to Steam's future.

      Valve will do everything in their power to see they do not succeed in the store front. Oculus chose this direction, and they must now prove their relevance as a publisher.

      I hope Oculus knew this wasn't going to be easy by a long shot.

      Last edited 27/06/16 10:41 am

      but the job's done, mission accomplished.

        its far from done, it may never be done.... playstation is just entering the VR race with so many exclusives on an exclusive platform.... Vive has the most exclusives and needs the most space.... Oculus has the longest and best games...

        there will never be an open source platform for all the HMDs at once because of the differentiation in hardware.

        we will have to wait till one comes out superior/majority.

        at the moment 27th 6th 2016

          Longest, maybe. Best... nope. VR honestly is the best when you are moving around, exploring and interacting with the space. So yeah, they have the games with more money thrown at them, but they are generally far less engaging, particularly from a VR perspective.

    I doubt the lost trust will be so easily restored. I don't want a VR headset that tries to be a platform, I want one that tries to be a peripheral.

      Yup. I want them to honestly answer the question of why they blocked access in the first place.

        I'm sure it'll be some bullshit answer like "Oh we added extra security and we didn't realise it would affect competing platforms it was all totally an honest accident".

        CEO Upper Management and Lawyer move/decision. Its never the guys who are actually you know 'doing something' at the company.

      You do realise that all HTC needs to do is submit the headset for approval to get access to the store. Their manager of VR pretty much admitted this andelay said they could probably make this work if they did. It boggles the mind that they haven't.

        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.

        This is a problem. They shouldn't be trying to create an 'ecosystem', they're just a peripheral maker. The Rift is just a display device. If Dell did something like this with their monitors and made other monitor makers go through a nonsense approval process otherwise games wouldn't work on them it would be equally as ridiculous and just as intolerable.

        The hardware check was completely unnecessary and did nothing to protect the games themselves. Independent third parties have always been the best choice for customers.

          They shouldn't be trying to create an 'ecosystem', they're just a peripheral maker. The Rift is just a display device.

          They've already stated they make no money from the device. They make money from the software. There is no harm in running a store that sells software as long as it functions with other devices. uPlay do it. EA do it. GoG do it. Leap Motion do it.

          The difference is that Steam's implementation is open licence and can be used by any headset manufacturer. Oculus have taken a closed approach and only works with approved headsets. Personally I'd prefer an open approach, but to be honest, the latter does allow for a certain level of quality control AND cushions them against certain legal issues where software doesn't work with an unapproved headset.

          Also I suspect that there could be a bit of IP protection doing on here as well to discourage use of cheap chinese knockoffs ... because you KNOW that will happen sooner or later. China has a habit of copying the technology exactly, ignoring any IP laws and rebadging it as their own.

            If Oculus has chosen a business model that makes them no profit, that's their problem. Their choice to sell hardware at cost to pick up a cut on software is a business model I don't support. I don't want a platform in a VR headset, I want a peripheral that I can use with anything I want. I don't want fragmentation. They're not consoles, they're not self-contained units, they're just display devices you plug in to your computer.

            A peripheral maker doesn't need to worry about software quality control if they don't sell software, just their own drivers. They don't need to worry about legal issues related to compatibility if they don't sell software unless there's a fault in their device. Making their own store has added those burdens, not mitigated them.

    Since they said they'd never have hardware checks in the first place it's a bit hard to trust them this time.

    This kind of stuff is why I'm going to wait a few years before buying VR. I want to either purchase the clear market leader or (more preferably) I want this exclusivity per headset to go away and for the headset to just be a PC accessory. Stop treating VR like consoles, this entire situation mirrors the console launch of the 80's where the market got flooded with many consoles and only a few survived.

    Some people these days buy multiple consoles...there's no incentive to buy multiple VR headsets. Exclusivity will only hurt the industry.

    Last edited 25/06/16 10:25 am

      it also safeguards you against wether it's a flash in the pan fad or a lasting piece of useful equipment tbh

      From my understanding of it, the whole console crash of the 80s happened because people were making all sorts of shit that wasn't worth buying or even guaranteed to work, so there was a complete loss faith in the market and nobody wanted a bar of it. And that it was a combination of Nintendo starting the whole "seal of quality" thing (which would guarantee that a game met the standards to actually function on your console, and wouldn't suffer any hard locks or whatever) along with the whole re-framing of the NES with ROB as a toy (to get back in with the retailers who didn't want a part of this whole failed "video games" thing) which got things back on track again.

      So I guess that sense it does in fact mirror what was going on then. You have Oculus trying to guarantee a minimum quality experience and to prevent half-baked hardware and software spoiling the public's faith in an emerging technology before it has a chance to really gain a foothold in the market. And for some reason people have a problem with that.

      If exclusives could only hurt the industry, then consoles would have died long ago.

        There's a difference between selling a game on the Oculus store as an exclusive and selling a game on the Oculus store that is also available on the Vive. In both scenarios Oculus can vet the software and decide if it meets their quality standards. Quality is not the issue here.

        The only reason for exclusives is to horde the "best" games/software for their device so that people will choose theirs over the competition based on the software in addition to the hardware.

        Look at current gen consoles, (apart from Nintendo, not going there) there's a few exclusive titles for PS4/Xbone but in general you can play the games on either as well as on PC. The few exclusive titles are the ones they use to promote the console but they don't rely on that to sell consoles.

        Oculus on the other hand wants every single game to be exclusive to Oculus. Completely different story and it makes it very difficult for an emerging market when consumers are limited to certain software depending on their hardware choice. To attract the largest amount of people to VR the market needs to be open, let developers choose what hardware they want to make games for and go with multiple VR sets if they want. Limiting them to exclusives makes it much harder for both devs and consumers.

        In addition to hurting the industry there's also no real reason for VR exclusivity. It's an accessory for your PC. It's not a standalone console or system that runs the software...it's a display device. I don't have to deal with a monitor that has exclusive content, why should I have that for VR?

        Last edited 25/06/16 2:04 pm

          Because it's not just a display device. And even then, it took time for display devices to get to where they are, there was once a time where you had to get one that was compatible with your setup, you couldn't just get any old thing and plug it in and it would work. We're still at that point with VR now, there needs to be time for things to develop and a proper base feature set to precipitate out of all the experimentation so that a standard can be settled upon. Which is why Oculus is using their SDK, and Valve has theirs. Each one tackling the problem with their own idea of a solution, as is the likes of OSVR and FOVE.

          The only reason for exclusives is to horde the "best" games/software for their device so that people will choose theirs over the competition based on the software in addition to the hardware.And to recoup on the investment made in the software to begin with. We are talking about a business after all, you won't stay in the game very long if you are just funding your competitors.

          Look at current gen consoles, (apart from Nintendo, not going there)Why not? They're still a part of the equation, and still doing quite well.

          Oculus on the other hand wants every single game to be exclusive to Oculus. Completely different story and it makes it very difficult for an emerging market when consumers are limited to certain software depending on their hardware choice. To attract the largest amount of people to VR the market needs to be open, let developers choose what hardware they want to make games for and go with multiple VR sets if they want. Limiting them to exclusives makes it much harder for both devs and consumers.Again, how is this any different to what's come before? If you choose PC or a Mac, you are limited in your software choice. Everyone was fine with making that choice, and both of those things survived through it. Sega vs Nintendo, vs Sony vs Microsoft. Symbian/Blackberry/Android/iOS. None of this is new territory, and none of it has resulted in apocalypse.

          What you are saying needs to happen is happening anyway. Devs ARE allowed to develop on whatever hardware they want, Oculus isn't forcing anyone to work on one thing and not the other - outside of Oculus' own games, devs are free to sell their games anywhere they like once the exclusivity period has expired (I'm not across what kind of time periods exist, but I have heard it can even be as little as three months - absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things), and to develop for any other hardware. The only stipulation is that to sell on the Oculus store you must use the Oculus SDK, you can't support the Rift though OpenVR's wrapper. If the devs don't want to bother with the extra work afterwards, then that's up to them... and is exactly the same as any other dev choosing not to support whatever platform you've chosen to buy in the past.

            Except I made my platform choice, which is PC because it is open and I have choice in the manufacturers and peripherals that attach to it, and the ability to change my mind and not lose access to my libraries. This forces me to lose those choices going forward. No matter which way you slice it, it is an attempt to fragment the PC platform with a hardware/software locked peripheral.

    This is the first step to ensuring VR survives so good on them for finally realising that they weren't doing the future of VR any favours. Now if we can just get away from the mentality that VR is a gaming device then it should start hitting mainstream adoption in the next few years. The gaming industry often drives tech adoption and development but it's the practical applications that bring it to the masses and VR is absolutely ripe with potential for non-gaming applications that ensure people will want a headset in their household.

    Still don't trust them, who's to say later they lock you back out after buying games, those shifty rift bastards like going back on their word.

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