Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in March, has backed a crowdfunding campaign for Revive—a hack which allows HTC Vive owners to play games from the Oculus platform—to the tune of $2,000 per month to support its continued development. The action comes in stark contrast to the closed ecosystem approach of the Oculus organization.
Revive is a free hack which allows users of the HTC Vive to play games from the Oculus platform, despite the platform not officially supporting any headset except for the Rift on desktop. Revive 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.
Since then, Revive has continued to work quite swimmingly, allowing Vive owners to play otherwise Oculus-exclusive games from the platform, unofficially. However, official support for Vive on the Oculus platform has not materialized, and Oculus continues to fund some VR content with exclusivity requirements that keeps the content from other platforms for a period of time, an approach which has proved controversial within the VR community.
Today Oculus founder Palmer Luckey made a $2,000 monthly pledge to the Revive Patreon campaign, a crowdfunding platform which allows people to offer continuous support for ongoing projects. The pledge, which Road to VR has confirmed to be authentic, means that Luckey will pay $2,000 per month in ongoing support for Revive, $24,000 annually, if he lets the pledge continue indefinitely.
Luckey’s choice to back the project comes seemingly in stark contrast to that of his former company. Exactly why he made the decision is so far unclear (he declined to comment), but one speculation is that his personal beliefs about whether or not the Oculus platform should be closed to other headsets differs from that of other decision makers at Facebook/Oculus.
According to the Revive Patreon campaign, the creator said that if the campaign hit the present top-level goal of $1,500 per month (now exceeded), they would pay the $3,500 fee to “join the Khronos Group as an Associate Member and help shape the OpenXR standard,” a widely supported in-development standard that aims to define how VR hardware should interoperate with VR software. Luckey’s pledge ought to buy the Revive creator a seat at that table, but it’s not clear how much influence they might have compared to the likes of major players like Oculus, Google, NVIDIA, Samsung, Valve, and others who are part of the initiative.