Platform exclusivity is a divisive issue in VR; on one hand, big financial backing helps create awesome games like Lone Echo [9/10]—on the other hand, if you chose the ‘wrong’ headset, you’re boxed out of what might otherwise become one of your favorite games. Thanks to ReVive, a free hack which allows Vive users to play games from the Oculus platform, you can now play both Lone Echo and it’s free multiplayer companion game Echo Arena with an HTC Vive.
With the advent of Revive, a project built by Jules Blok (aka CrossVR), the hack became central to discussion of Oculus’ approach to building a VR platform when Oculus modified their DRM in a way that prevented Revive from functioning, thus blocking Vive users from playing Oculus games. Community outcry over the decision eventually led Oculus to reverse that particular stance on DRM, saying that in the future they wouldn’t use headset verification as part of the platform’s security protections.
Now, two of the most well-received Oculus-funded games—both the campaign mode Lone Echo selling for $40 and the free multiplayer mode Echo Arena—have gained unofficial support for the HTC Vive. And with a native 360-degree setup already supported by Oculus, it’s practically plug-and-play. Of course, there’s also no telling if Oculus’ decision will hold into the future, so the mantra “buyer beware” is still in effect for potential Revive users looking to purchase on the Oculus Store.
OpenXR (formerly Khronos VR) is also looking to unite what it considers a fragmented market by advocating a universal cross-platform standard that, according to the developers, enables applications to be written once to run on any VR system, and to access VR devices integrated into those VR systems to be used by applications. Names like Epic Games, AMD, ARM, Valve, Google and even Oculus are helping with the initiative.
Legendary programmer and Oculus CTO John Carmack had this to say about OpenXR:
“Khronos’ open APIs have been immensely valuable to the industry, balancing the forces of differentiation and innovation against gratuitous vendor incompatibility. As virtual reality matures and the essential capabilities become clear in practice, a cooperatively developed open standard API is a natural and important milestone. Oculus is happy to contribute to this effort.”
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in March, has also backed ReVive financially to the tune of $2,000 per month to support its continued development.