Oculus has reversed course on a controversial recent decision: blocking owners of HTC Vive headsets from buying and playing exclusive Rift games.
Earlier today, the creators of Revive — a system that enables games from Oculus’ store on the Vive — noted that Oculus had seemingly removed a new copy protection check it added to games last month, which checked to see if a Rift was present before playing a game. Oculus also confirmed the news to The Verge. "We continually revise our entitlement and anti-piracy systems, 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," the company said in a statement.
"We believe protecting developer content is critical to the long-term success of the VR industry, and we’ll continue taking steps in the future to ensure that VR developers can keep investing in ground-breaking new VR content," the statement continued, although it did not give specific examples of what that might mean.
It's salving a major sore point between Oculus and parts of the VR community
Last month’s change was meant to help protect Oculus’ library of exclusive games like Chronos and Edge of Nowhere, one of the Rift’s greatest assets. But the decision had unintended consequences. It led Revive to update with instructions for bypassing Oculus’ copy protection altogether, opening a door to piracy that hadn’t existed before the change. It also soured Oculus’ relationship with parts of the VR community, especially after a former Vive title became an exclusive Oculus Touch game at E3. Now, Revive’s developers say they have removed the DRM-breaking patch.
Oculus has defended its focus on exclusives before, and the practice has produced undeniably substantive and mature games, compared to the relatively underdeveloped Vive library. But since the Rift is difficult to buy and doesn’t yet include motion controllers, it’s become a less attractive purchase than the Vive in the short term. This may change later this year, since Oculus has said preorders will be filled by July and its Touch controllers will be released later this year. With this decision, it’s earning back some of the goodwill it’s lost in recent months, and de-escalating a potential platform war for PC virtual reality.