Revive patch developers fire back by disabling Oculus DRM

— 12:33 PM on May 23, 2016

A couple days ago, we learned that the Revive patch—a compatibility layer that allows HTC Vive owners to play games from the Oculus Store on their headsets without an Oculus Rift—was broken by a recent update to Oculus' software. That update changed Oculus' DRM model to check whether a Rift was connected to the host PC before allowing Oculus Home games to run. While Oculus had previously warned that hacks of its software wouldn't be guaranteed to function in the long term, the VR enthusiast community has since come to regard Oculus' move as an aggressive attempt to lock down its platform.

Now, Revive's developer has fired back with a new version of the patch that bypasses Oculus' DRM entirely for Unreal Engine titles on the Oculus Store, allowing those titles to run on the HTC Vive once again. This patch comes with side effects, though. Revive's developer warns that this approach could open the door to piracy, and they warn users "not [to] use this library for pirated copies." That warning seems highly unlikely to prevent the unscrupulous from cracking and distributing Rift titles for use with the Vive, though.

Given the way past DRM wars have gone, we'd expect that Oculus won't let the Revive developers have the last word in this matter. It's not clear the company even made the right decision to begin with, though. From where we're standing, it seems Oculus had little to lose by maintaining the status quo and allowing a small number of Vive owners to run its titles on their devices (other than hardware sales for its own headset). Now, matters are much worse. Oculus has stoked another PR fire it can ill afford in the face of the troubled Rift launch, and Rift developers using the Unreal Engine now know that their software is wide-open to piracy. Whatever the next move in this game of cat-and-mouse ends up being, it's a safe bet to say it won't be pretty.

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