Oculus has been the recipient of harsh criticism since the launch of its flagship product, the Rift VR HMD. The company has had several setbacks since the launch, and to the public eye, Oculus has made a series of missteps that have cost it the adoration of the VR enthusiast community that it held so firmly less than a year ago.
Oculus opened up pre-orders for its highly anticipated Rift HMD in January during CES 2016, and customers who purchased hardware were expecting to receive their orders in late April for release day. As it stands, Oculus is still trying to fulfill shipments for people who ordered hardware on day one, and many people expect to be waiting well into the summer before their orders arrive.
Oculus has also been criticized for its use of exclusive content in its platform. The founder of the company defended this position earlier this year in a Reddit AMA. His stance is that Oculus paid for the content to be made, so it should be able to sell it however it wants. There’s some merit to that point, but the last thing the enthusiast PC gamer community--the precise group of people that the Rift is being marketed towards for now--wants to see happen to their precious PC platform is a repeat of the console wars. PC gamers enjoy the freedom to buy their games from wherever they choose, and use whichever peripherals they want.
Dodging And Redodging DRM Checks
Oculus chose to take the approach of keeping its Oculus Home storefront locked down to Rift owners only, but this decision didn’t sit well with at least one software developer, who took it upon himself to create Revive, a tool designed to circumvent the hardware check of Oculus Rift games so you can play them with an HTC Vive. Revive has been available on Github for a couple of weeks, and the project had been progressing smoothly. Almost all of the games on the Oculus Home storefront were working on the Vive--and then Oculus decided to intervene.
Oculus was using DRM that checked the validity of your game purchase, but it wasn’t checking for the Rift hardware. Each game had a simple check for the HMD, which Revive was able to emulate to trick the software into thinking a Rift is present when it’s actually an HTC Vive. Late last week, Oculus released version 1.4 of the Oculus app (opens in new tab), which includes a check for the Rift directly into the Oculus Platform DRM.
LibreVR, the developer of Revive, revealed to Reddit on Friday that the Oculus App update does indeed break the Revive software. The changes don’t render Revive completely useless, as the software also works with Rift games published to Steam, but it does stop you from playing Oculus Home content. CrossVR offered a workaround that will help CV1 and DK2 kits, but it didn’t take long for a proper update to be released with a fix for the issue. Unfortunately for Oculus, the new Revive update also opens the door for piracy by going around the Oculus Platform DRM.
The release notes for Revive version 0.5.2 open with a comment from the developer stating that removing DRM checks wasn’t the desired outcome, but there wasn’t any other option if development for the tool was to continue. The developer added that he does not support piracy and pleaded for users not to use the application to steal content.
“I really didn't want to go down this path, but I feel there is no other way. This release bypasses the Oculus Platform DRM in Unreal Engine games, so the entitlement check doesn't fail because the headset isn't connected,” said LibreVR.
LibreVR said the update has been tested only with Oculus Dreamdeck, but it should work for all Unreal Engine-based games. The next release of Revive will also support Unity Engine games.
The Revive software can be found on Github if you would like to try it for yourself.