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Oculus Backpedals From Heavy-Handed DRM Policies, Headset Check Removed From Latest Runtime

Several weeks ago, an independent developer released a tool called ReVive to GitHub that would let you play Oculus Home content with an HTC Vive HMD. The software quickly became popular, but Oculus took notice, and last month Oculus released Oculus Runtime 1.4, which introduced a new DRM policy that checked for a proper Oculus Rift headset before allowing Oculus Home software to launch.

The developer of ReVive, LibreVR, wasted no time at all in coming up with a solution. The runtime update came out on a Friday, and the solution was released before the end of the weekend. Unfortunately for Oculus, the solution was a total circumvention of the Oculus Platform DRM. LibreVR expressed its displeasure of bypassing the DRM measures and pleaded for ReVive to not be used as a piracy tool, but it opened the door wide for such misuse.

It appears this blunder has opened the eyes of someone at Oculus, though. Oculus Runtime 1.5 was quietly released yesterday, and to our (and LibreVR’s) surprise, the company has backed down from its heavy-handed approach of locking down its content to Rift owners only. The new release removed the Headset Check that was preventing ReVive from working the way the developer intended.

Oculus will probably be happy to find out the LibreVR has responded in kind and has removed the DRM circumvention from its tool already.

“I've only just tested this and I'm still in disbelief, but it looks like Oculus removed the headset check from the DRM in Oculus Runtime 1.5,” said LibreVR. “As such I've reverted the DRM patch and removed all binaries from previous releases that contained the patch.”

This is a surprising move from Oculus, but a much welcomed one. The company has been subject to criticism from the media and from would-be and current customers recently. Moves like this show that Oculus is actually paying attention to what people are saying.

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  • jkflipflop98
    I really wanted to back Oculus in this race because Palmer was the one that jump started this entire industry. But everything that Oculus has done since the Facebook acquisition has been cheap, greedy, sleazeball tactics. Paying developers for "exclusives" is obviously the worst thing possible. They delayed my day1 preorder to july so they could ship units to BestBuy stores.

    I cancelled my preorder and purchased a Vive and I couldn't be happier.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    18173680 said:
    I really wanted to back Oculus in this race because Palmer was the one that jump started this entire industry. But everything that Oculus has done since the Facebook acquisition has been cheap, greedy, sleazeball tactics. Paying developers for "exclusives" is obviously the worst thing possible. They delayed my day1 preorder to july so they could ship units to BestBuy stores.

    I cancelled my preorder and purchased a Vive and I couldn't be happier.

    Paying developers who otherwise wouldn't be able to survive and release a game at all, and asking for limited time exclusivity is not the worst thing possible.
    It's not the best possible outcome either, but there are far worse possibilities, such as the games not being made at all, or complete locked down exclusivity.

    Oculus definitely hasn't been winning itself many fans with its tactics though.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    i've already wrote off the rift as an option... vive is the way to go. besides, it can do everything the rift can, and more.
    Reply
  • Jeff Fx
    Good move Oculus. I have a Vive, and planned to get a Rift a little later, but I gave up on the Rift because of the DRM lock-in. If things stay this way, I'll reconsider getting a Rift when their Touch controllers are fully available.
    Reply
  • surphninja
    Looks like someone at Oculus has some common sense. Like Gabe newell once said, "Piracy is almost always a service problem..."

    The harder you try to implement DRM, the more you enable piracy and encourage the creation of tools that will spread it like wildfire. It's probably good for Oculus that they came to their senses so quickly, instead of fighting a drawn out battle that they would've lost.
    Reply
  • hfitch
    Not all of us have the space for a vive unit. I would like the option of having to sit at a desk or living room and playing vr games like Eve or other without having to stand up and move. I just dont have the space for Vive.
    Reply
  • Honis
    18174168 said:
    Not all of us have the space for a vive unit. I would like the option of having to sit at a desk or living room and playing vr games like Eve or other without having to stand up and move. I just dont have the space for Vive.

    The Vive doesn't require a standing experience to function. All of the sitting games the Rift supports are still sitting experiences on the Vive (if it runs on the Vive which is the whole reason for this article.) It's just a more expensive option for the sitting experience since it comes with the hand controllers. On Steam, there is an icon indicating the type of experiences the game can support.

    I own the Rift. I look forward to the Touch release so I can expand my library to include more room scale games, even if I only have standing room to play atm.
    Reply
  • chicofehr
    Was it Facebook or Palmer that ruined the rift? I haven't heard anything about that. It was supposed to be open at the start so I'm leaning toward Facebook but I could be wrong.
    Reply
  • Titanimus
    People can make mountains from mole hills all day long about the options Oculus is providing the VR community but I see a company that is making an excellent product, distribution channel, and improved experiences. Love my Rifts (Gear and CV1) and love the entertainment they provide. I am not going pretend that wearing a bulky, heavy, and more clumsy headset is even in the same ballpark as my HMD.
    Reply
  • dalauder
    GOG has already proven that DRM isn't necessary to a business model. I don't see why anyone bothers with it when it is often easier to circumvent than use legally. There are many products that I own legally, but use DRM cracks instead of legal activation because it's significantly easier.

    +1 to Gabe Newell's, "Piracy is almost always a service problem..."
    Reply