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, given Oculus’ decision.
The company has been under intense criticism the last few weeks. There wasn’t an E3 interview with Oculus executives that didn’t include questions about this decision, which seemed to go against the spirit of inclusivity that Oculus was originally founded on, prior to becoming a Facebook company.
Oculus seems 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 in the sand: 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.”
“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.