Oculus adds DRM to the Rift to lock out competing headsets

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Vive

The two biggest and most feature-packed virtual reality systems are out, with the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive (slowly!) being sent to pre-purchasers and retail customers. Of the two, the more expensive Vive is clearly superior, with features like Room scale VR, those amazing controllers and better head-tracking.

Thanks to some clever hacks, it’s also able to run games exclusive to the Oculus Rift, that platform’s one selling point. Or at least it was. Oculus isn’t too happy about losing its key differentiator, so it’s instituting a bit of DRM to keep Vive owners from sampling Rift’s wares.

The creators of Revive, the hack that allowed for Rift games to run on competing headsets have confirmed that new patch, which includes “platform integrity checks” also features DRM.

“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,” Revive maker 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.”

The most curious thing about it all is that just a few months ago on Reddit , Oculus’ Palmer Luckey said that they wouldn’t lock people to the Rift.

“If customers buy a game from us, I don’t care if they mod it to run on whatever they want. As I have said a million times (and counter to the current circlejerk), our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware – if it was, why in the world would we be supporting GearVR and talking with other headset makers?”

A spokesperson from Oculus told Motherboard that customers should expect that regular platform updates should nix hacks.

“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,” an Oculus spokesperson said.

While it is, of course, their right to protect their platform I don’t think they’re endearing themselves with the double talk and back-peddling.  So much for that open platform, I guess.

Last Updated: May 23, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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