Oculus removes hardware check DRM from Rift exclusives

We've reported in the past on the ongoing saga regarding game exclusivity on the Oculus Rift and user group LibreVR's attempts to break that exclusivity. Way back in April, LibreVR released a patch, called Revive, that allowed Vive users to play Oculus-exclusive games. The two have been firing back and forth ever since. Oculus added DRM to defeat Revive, and LibreVR proceeded to update its tool to get around that restriction. The last big volley from Oculus made Rift titles check for a connected Rift headset before launching. Now in a statement to Ars Technica, the company says it will drop that practice.

Last time we talked about Revive, it looked like we were in for a protracted battle between Oculus and LibreVR over the software, so it's all the more surprising that Oculus has changed its mind. While this is a huge shift in Oculus' standing on its DRM, it doesn't mean that Vive owners can suddenly play Oculus Rift games. Vive users will still have to install the Revive patch, but the patch can at least be less aggressive about how it disables DRM now.

Given the rough launch of the Oculus Rift, an extended battle over DRM and the resulting PR fallout wouldn't be good for the company, so we can understand this move. It's still good to see Oculus bury the hatchet with folks who want the option to employ Revive, though. LibreVR has already released an update to its patch that rolls back the changes that it had made to combat the hardware check.

Comments closed
    • lilbuddhaman
    • 3 years ago

    How many board meetings do you think this decision took?

    • odizzido
    • 3 years ago

    I am kinda surprised. I thought they’d fight to the end.

    • Firestarter
    • 3 years ago

    It doesn’t really matter anymore what they do now, right? They showed their colors, what they really think and want, which is to be anti-competitive in order to maximize profits regardless of whether that is good for VR gaming in general or not. Crawling back after having it blow up in their faces doesn’t change their initial intentions

      • ebomb808
      • 3 years ago

      We need to band together to make sure no one makes profits in gaming again! Who’s with me?

        • travbrad
        • 3 years ago

        There will be no profits at all if they kill the VR market before it even starts with petty DRM and proprietary lock outs. It’s hard enough already to get people to spend that kind of money on a VR headset (especially since most places there’s no way of trying them before buying).

        • Valjak
        • 3 years ago

        Most people are just fine with companies making a profit. Doing so through shady or underhanded tactics is an entirely different thing though.

        When a company employs dirty and consumer hostile tactics all it is really doing is announcing that the leadership is incompetent and doesn’t have the skills to succeed. Unfortunately this is what passes for management at most companies these days.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 3 years ago

      I think zuck got in over his head with VR, especially with the DRM. Now it’s just another DRM storefront that spies on you, and most likely will die off after people get tired of the shortcomings. Do their games still install on the C: drive? Stuff like that.

      Allowing competitors to use Rift games is a positive move, but you’re still dealing with facebook. I don’t think facebook is nearly as pro-gamer as Valve, as they most likely prioritize other motives like social media integration, and targeted ads.

      • YukaKun
      • 3 years ago

      If this wasn’t a tech site, I’d say you were talking about the “Brexit”, hahaha.

      Cheers! 😛

      • evilpaul
      • 3 years ago

      I forgot to be made of money, so I don’t own a VR headset and am not about to plunk down what anybody’s asking to buy one sight unseen.

      I wasn’t aware the DRM used by Oculus was particularly onerous? Steam has DRM and people don’t bitch about that very much. I thought the problem was Oculus modifying the DRM to block other headsets–not that it existed?

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Neither of TR’s previous articles on Oculus vs ReVive stated that the Oculus software changes were malicious.

      Sure, it looked that way to a cynic, but it’s also not fair to expect Oculus to remain DRM-free, since there is proprietary software they’ve put a lot of work into and have a right to protect.

      It sounds now as if Oculus are finding alternatives to the hardware DRM that they first implemented. The goal was useful DRM and the fact that it now has to be software rather than hardware to improve cross-platform development prospects implies that their true colours may not actually be bad, just that DRM (ugly as it always is) was the primary objective and ReVive was collateral.

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]It sounds now as if Oculus are finding alternatives to the hardware DRM that they first implemented. The goal was useful DRM and the fact that it now has to be software rather than hardware to improve cross-platform development prospects implies that their true colours may not actually be bad, just that DRM (ugly as it always is) was the primary objective and ReVive was collateral.[/quote<] Or, looking at it more cynically, and taken alongside OR courting (and paying) developers to make their games Rift-exclusive, means it was part of a strategy to lock-in the market and customers into their walled garden, so they won't have to compete with other headsets and storefronts.

      • sparkman
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]They showed their colors[/quote<] Nonsense.

      • Billstevens
      • 3 years ago

      It definitely still matters. Probably not to the people that want nothing to do with a Facebook like company ever, but to the rest of us it matters.

      The Oculus has problems but it is an impressive high quality head set and it would be a shame to have to ditch all their future tech because of really shitty business practices.

      Many Vive and Oculus owners alike are happy to see this news and generally it seems to be restoring some faith that Oculus wont completely wreck the VR scene before it gets started. At least that was the response to the news on the Oculus reddit, which is still more or less the defacto general VR sub.

      • Meadows
      • 3 years ago

      You have to also understand that it feels really crap to see your investment and hard work being taken advantage of by someone else’s product while you get nothing back.

      Yes, these considerations can be balanced with customer satisfaction, but customer satisfaction is not the be all, end all.

      • dWind
      • 3 years ago

      What do you mean showed their ‘colors’. Sure lock-in sucks for vive users but did any one of you thought WHY they locked it in? They paid cold hard cash to game developers to develop games for platform that basically did not haave a market yet. And because they paid for games development, they tried to protect their investment – how is that ‘anti-competitive’? It’s like saying Nintendo is anti competitive because you cant play Mario on playstation …
      Is it the best strategy? Who knows – it’s unpopular and might damage the whole vr business.
      But remember – we have a chicken and egg problem. No widespread hardware adoption -> no market for developers – > no games for consumers -> no hardware -> no market -> etc.
      Did HTC pay for any games to be developed? Not that i know. If they did they coudl swap portfolios and it would be win win but as it stands Why should Vive have access then to games that oculus financed. “But, but, but I already have vive and cant buy 2 VR kit’s well!” – tough luck son, i also can’t buy a Porsche. Maybe Oculus will open up its games to vive one day … and sure and behold they did. Most likely they got tired of cat and mouse games with crackers but thats is not because they are evil.

        • Namarrgon
        • 3 years ago

        Nobody had any objection to them protecting their investment in exclusive games with DRM, only when they started tying those games to their hardware.

        The problem there is that Luckey has repeatedly claimed that his main aim is to grow the VR market, and that the market needs interoperability between different hardware vendors (like different monitors running the same PC games) – he said that to this end they did not intend to make money on their hardware, only through their store. So long as people bought their games from Oculus, it shouldn’t matter (to them, financially) what hardware they run those on. This would increase the pool of games available to everyone and encourage adoption.

        Many are already suspicious of Facebook, and when he went back on his word like that, it was seen as the end of naïve, idealistic Luckey, and confirmation that the new corporate Luckey was already greedily sabotaging the nascent market.

      • willyolio
      • 3 years ago

      Yup. we know exactly what they [b<]WANT[/b<] to do. that's what they're going to do if they have enough power in the market. Screw them. VR will have plenty of good, healthy competition without them, AND the freedom for consumers to buy the games they want and use the headsets they want. Oculus can just die in a fire for all i care. HTC and Razer can duke it out for headset dominance, and game developers can compete against each other.

    • sparkman
    • 3 years ago

    go Carmack go

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