Past Parallels and Our Take on the Present

George Hotz
George Hotz

If this is all strongly reminiscent, it should be. This sort of stand off between community and corporation has happened before, on many platforms. Sony’s battle to keep it’s PlayStation 3 console secure and free from home brew software (and, unfortunately, piracy) versus the formidable hacker Geoh0t (aka George Hotz). The cat and mouse chase between Sony and Hotz and other members of the hacking community, with each successive closing of exploits via firmware updates seen as the next new challenge, and subsequently beaten, continued until Hotz was sued by and settled with Sony. Apple’s seemingly endless fight to prevent their iOS operating systems from circumvention via exploits known as ‘jailbreaking’ is another striking parallel.

But has Oculus done anything wrong here? That’s an open question of course and depends on your point of view. In terms of protecting IP within Oculus Home, it does seem like a logical step “to curb piracy and protect content and developers over the long term,” after all, if for whatever reason a developer wants to distribute content only for the Rift, it’s up to Oculus to make sure that desire is protected, but it certainly goes against the grain of PC gaming, where traditionally once you own a game you can run it on a broad array of hardware.

oculus-home
Oculus Home is the company’s curated distribution portal which on PC only supports the Rift headset.

As LibreVR alludes in their Q&A above however, it’s difficult to accept Oculus’ actions as purely one of DRM protection and assertions that Revive wasn’t the catalyst for the change has been questioned by the community. The previous exploit didn’t tamper with the so-called ‘Entitlement Check’, the bit that checks a user owns the software he or she is trying to run, merely the game-level check that the ‘correct’ VR headset was connected. So viewing the Home 1.4 update as anything but a move on the part of Oculus to ensure only the Rift can be used with Oculus software feels like a tough sell. With that said, I’d never presume to know what concerns Oculus may have had relating to Revive‘s original methods; after working in web hosting for some 20 years, there are some security vectors that are obscure and unwise to elucidate upon.

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Photo courtesy Oculus VR, LLC
Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey | Photo courtesy Oculus VR, LLC

Oculus’ desire to create a curated and in many cases exclusive content portal is far from new. The real issue largely stems from mismanaged expectations. More specifically, that Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey has said that the company is not interested in forcing people to use only Oculus hardware to play their games, even those financed and published by them. One Reddit response in particular, in a rather heated thread is probably the best example:

If customers buy a game from us, I don’t care if they mod it to run on whatever they want. As I have said a million times (and counter to the current circlejerk), our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware – if it was, why in the world would we be supporting GearVR and talking with other headset makers? The software we create through Oculus Studios (using a mix of internal and external developers) are exclusive to the Oculus platform, not the Rift itself.

The issue is people who expect us to officially support all headsets on a platform level with some kind of universal Oculus SDK, which is not going to happen anytime soon. We do want to work with other hardware vendors, but not at the expense of our own launch, and certainly not in a way that leads to developing for the lowest common denominator – there are a lot of shitty headsets coming, a handful of good ones, and a handful that may never even hit the market. Keep in mind that support for the good ones requires cooperation from both parties, which is sometimes impossible for reasons outside our control.

So whilst you could argue Oculus has every right to actively prevent circumvention of the exclusive aspects of their platform, or even that as a corporate entity they’re also entitled to prevent software to be used on non-Oculus hardware, the above quote may have lead some to believe otherwise, and may have influenced their VR headset purchase. Luckey is well respected among VR enthusiasts and his words carry weight; in the absence of any other official rebuttals of this statement, what other expectations should users have had?

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Luckey’s comments above may hint at frustrations with the current situation, a possible inference from “impossible for reasons outside our control” that Oculus had attempted to bridge the headset compatibility gap at some point but hit an impasse. And yes, whilst Oculus may well be backed by megacorp Facebook, it’s difficult to see Valve as the the plucky underdog in this story, holding as they do keys to the biggest online distribution portal for PC games in the world. Those with long memories will remember that Steam, launched alongside Half-Life 2 in 2004, has itself travelled a long and rocky road before it reaching its current levels of ubiquity and success.

steamvr_logo

The lingering question is: will Oculus’ approach to LibreVR’s Revive and any others that appear in the future mark the company out as anti-consumer or even that they’re actively stifling the proliferation of VR as a platform? Those are sentiments you’ll see a lot trawling the many, many discussions on this topic and one I’m not sure any of us can answer just yet. It’s certainly not winning them any PR wars right now, and on the back of their continuing difficulties to get the Oculus Rift headsets into people’s hands, this latest fiasco has come at a bad time.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject Revive Vs. Oculus Home, feel free to vent your support or frustrations in the comments section below.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • Dunnlang

    Did anyone else just realize that they are wearing a “commerce platform” strapped to their face? I think this is the major disconnect between the companies and the consumers. We see these devices as nearly comoditized content consumption tools.

    Unfortunately there is little to no money in consumer electronics hardware (so wonderful I decided to make a career in that space…), but endless money in consumable/disposable content. Compare car companies vs oil companies for an easy example.

    There is so much money to be made in digital content distribution. I just wish they would let the platform speak for itself and not feel the need to create artificial walled gardens. That does nothing for the industry as a whole.

    • ummm…

      problem is is that the platform is lagging. Do we know if this tact was introduced before or after the vive had clearly won the PR war as well as the gen 1 war (as of today, that is)?

  • zuben

    The statement released by Oculus is, at this point, exactly what I’d expect from them. It’s the corporate / political doublespeak where the words are antithetical to the true intent.

    E.g., “The added security improvements were designed to curb piracy and protect content and developers over the long term.”

    Translation: We’ve tied the Entitlement Check with our DRM so that using a patch to access otherwise legally attained software will now constitute software piracy under the DMCA. …Even though we’d originally encouraged such cooperative innovation.

    The reality is that Oculus has *undermined* developers, but worse, the VR community as a whole. I’m fairly disgusted with them and had cancelled my preorder when I’d first heard of this latest move.

    • Alan Roberts

      it was all going so well until Mr luckey signed his deal with the devil.
      facebook are 2 faced backstabbing scumbags plain and simple.

      valve on the other hand, they have decades of experience in the pc gaming industry and by and large treat the pc community pretty well (how many cheap steam games are on your pc :)
      the device itself made by htc who have been producing quality hardware for decades.
      rift is a 1st time manufacture of hardware for either company involved. (and thats before you consider the scumbaggery of FB)

      those reasons alone (even not considering controllers) makes the vive the better proposition as a PC gamer. even if it does cost more valve have the better chance of making it work and doing it right. that alone is worth the extra 300 bucks or whatever it is

  • minorgrey

    There is no way I will buy a game on Oculus Home without them allowing other headsets. More headsets will come, and I won’t be sticking with my current one forever. Some day I’m going to switch brands. If Home only allows the Rift, what happens to my game library? I’m not going to spend hundreds of dollars on games and not be able to play them again with a new headset.

    • Thraalhobit

      You just point out why they are doing this among other thing, golden cages.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Oculus also said they would allow other headsets, BUT those headsets would need to support the OculusSDK, they call it the Oculus PLATFORM.. Just like you need to support the SteamVR SDK if you want full Steam support..
      But I agree with you, Oculus should talk to HTC for them to support the OculusSDK..
      I certainly wouldn’t use the Oculus Store for any game I can also buy on Steam (as Steam is my main digital library)..

      • fwd

        Or just include OpenVR in Oculus Home, just like Oculus SDK is integrated into Steam alongside Open VR.

  • Graham J ⭐️

    If Oculus are going to go out of their way to prevent me from buying apps from them then fine, I won’t. I won’t be installing any Facebook-related apps for my Vive either.

    +1 zuben RE “corporate / political doublespeak” – They sound more and more like Facebook every day. #$%^$% sellouts.

    • Lucas Cooper-Bey

      Time for a facebook killer, Google?

      • ummm…

        im so happy to hear about DayDream.

  • Sanidin

    “The issue is people who expect us to officially support all headsets
    on a platform level with some kind of universal Oculus SDK, which is
    not going to happen anytime soon. We do want to work with other hardware
    vendors, but not at the expense of our own launch, and certainly not in
    a way that leads to developing for the lowest common denominator… Keep in mind that support for the good ones requires cooperation
    from both parties, which is sometimes impossible for reasons outside our
    control.”

    The irony is suffocating… in OpenVR the rift is the lowest common denominator.

    • ummm…

      ive got my vive and from what I hear about the rift (even with the prospect of touch controllers) it will be lagging for some time; maybe until gen 2. However, let us be careful lest we get too confident.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        uhh, headset wise, the Rift is superior to the Vive, the only advantage of the vive (at the moment) is the lighthouse roomscale tracking and it’s controllers, but then again, even those controllers aren’t always the best controllers for the specific gametype..

        • ummm…

          What does this comment mean. I’m a bit baffled. Why is one better than the other. Effectively the minute difference in screen size and in some cases resolution is easily remedied or imperceptible. Explain to me the issue with the vice controllers. I’ve had NO issue. Also, the rift tracking solution has serious limits. Like I said I did my research and made a decision. I’m no fan boy. U have been with oculus for some time. I just showed up and made a decision free of emotion. But tell me more, I’m not stuck with my vive.

        • Muddy

          Andrew, by your own admission you don’t even own a consumer Rift. Opinion invalid.

          • Jonathan Peverall

            I don’t need to own a rift to have a valid opinion. The vive does standing/sitting VR IN ADDITION to room scale. Haven’t spent countless hours over the past few weeks playing both, I can tell you, the idea of being constrained to only standing, or even limited to the relatively shorter and inferior tracking of the Rift, is unacceptable. The little differences of resolution or slight weight advantage are irrelevant. Room scale is VR. The Rift amounts to little more than a head mounted 3D monitor. A polished turd is still a turd. I’ll take my uglier, heavier, yet FAR more functional Vive any day.

          • Muddy

            Hell yeah!

  • Jonathan Peverall

    This makes me glad that I cancelled my Oculus order. We all knew that FB’s acquisition of Oculus would mean disaster. This is the proof. They want full control of the domain, but they ain’t gonna get it. Fuck your Oculus Home exclusives, I will never buy anything from Oculus until it has native support for other headsets. If you want people to buy your hardware instead of others, make better hardware, don’t force people through exclusivity software. Valve and HTC did this right. Oculus and Facebook can eat a dick.

    • dextrovix

      Agreed. Plus, the fact that titles that are bought on Steam can support both headsets, yet bought on Oculus Home only work on the Rift, really shows where people should spend their money.

      So, if a developer goes for Oculus Home publication they’ll find less copies sold than if the go for Steam, because the latter doesn’t lock people into exclusivity.

      • beestee

        Does it really show where Rift users should spend their money? The Oculus Home experience is very refined and seamless on the Rift, the same cannot be said for SteamVR on the Rift.

        I buy games for Xbox One and don’t expect them to work everywhere indefinitely, I get tired of games and move on relatively quickly with very few exceptions.

        Many of these early games are very casual, so I don’t imagine that I will be so attached to any of them that I would miss them if I do change platforms. Games come out with such frequency now anyways that I don’t have time to keep up with new titles.

        I just don’t buy games unless I feel that I can get the value out of the purchase in consideration of my attention span, time available to play, etc. As long as I get to enjoy my Oculus Home purchases while they are relevant, I consider it money well spent.

        • Jonathan Peverall

          The issue isn’t how well your purchased games run on the oculus. That’s not even in question. It’s the fact that you can’t play them on anything but the rift, while you CAN play almost every NON oculus game on the rift.

          • beestee

            Let’s revisit this topic in a year or so when the ground is a little more even…

            http://www.roadtovr.com/htc-vive-x-accelerator-100-million-investment-fund-virtual-reality/

            From The Verge, on the same subject: “We also don’t know precisely how focused the program will be on Vive-only development, although HTC says the goal is to “support a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for the Vive.” Companies in the Vive X program will be given between $50,000 and $200,000 in exchange for handing over “a small amount” of equity, alongside other benefits.”

            Who is going to blow the whistle on this?

            Bolstering VR development is good for everyone whether or not the games made from it are exclusive or not IMO. The fact that developers are investing their time and effort on this type of development realizes a more stable future for the medium.

            PSVR has many exclusives BTW, better get the petitions started now.

          • dextrovix

            I hope the situation changes, it is early days after all. I want VR to succeed and am happy to buy titles from the indies to help and encourage them. But the developer and publisher are of course two different things.
            Considering Oculus produced very good developments kits and we have them to thank for consumer VR, I do feel a little shafted regarding the attitude software side (although I understand why from a business perspective they have taken this route).
            I just feel that by not offering choice, Oculus are loosing sales that I could otherwise make in their store, when another platform offers more flexibility I see no point in limiting myself on purpose.

          • minorgrey

            Blow the whistle on what? Any games made by HTC/Valve will work with the Rift… No one is mad that Oculus is making games exclusive to their store, it’s that they’re making them exclusive to their hardware.

            Also, I don’t own a console because it locks consumers into their product. This is why I’m a PC gamer. It’s why I don’t own an Apple product. Why would I be upset over a console being a console?

          • beestee

            Exactly my point, nobody will blow the whistle while it means more development for VR. One year ago Oculus did something very similar, but the end result after some unfortunate decision making is this situation.

            “Other benefits” could very well mean exclusivity, but it will be a year from now before anybody realizes it, and usually seeing this sort of backlash ensures that competitors will avoid making the same mistakes. Usually quite the opposite, shining a spotlight on their competitors mistakes and misdirection to “look at how we do it better” when in fact it is the same or worse.

            That’s the problem with trying to defend a business as “doing the right thing” or “being the good guy” when they are all in it for the same reasons.

          • Jonathan Peverall

            You can “predict” whatever you want. The facts of now are clear. Vive games work on the Rift. Oculus games won’t work on Vive. Pretty straightforward. The Vive SDK is built ground up as an open platform. Oculus SDK is made for Rift only. Again, pretty clear. Will things change a year or five from now? Who knows, probably. But this argument isn’t about what these companies might do 5 years from now, it’s about what they are doing NOW.

          • minorgrey

            No really, blow the whistle on what? HTC and Valve have both gone on the record and said they won’t make games exclusive in that kind of way. While you may only be able to buy the game on Steam, they’re not going to lock other headsets out. Valve has been very clear on this. So… blow the whistle on what? That everyone is going to have more access to games thanks to HTC dumping millions into development? Am I supposed to be mad about that?

            Of course they’re all in it to make money. I don’t care if they make money, I only care that the games I bought will be able to be played by other headsets in the future. As long as they keep it open, I’ll give them my cash.

          • beestee

            Blow the whistle on whatever end means are used to get a return on the investment.

            I am still trying to figure out why Oculus is not taking money from Vive users that want to buy games through and use Oculus Home. It is hard to ignore that their parent company is Facebook and their parent company’s profits stem almost entirely from data collection and advertising.

            The answer is in there somewhere.

            At the end of the day, the only winners in any of this will likely be Facebook and Valve.

          • KrisVS

            “I am still trying to figure out why Oculus is not taking money from Vive users that want to buy games through and use Oculus Home.”

            Its simple. Right now its much easier to get a Vive than it is a Rift. Oculus know that people are cancelling Rift orders to get Vives. They are cutting off Vive buyers from their games in the hopes that people will not think “I’ll just get a Vive. I can play Rift games on it anyway” and stay with Oculus.

            This in turn means that come Gen 2, people who spent money on Rift games will think

            “Well I spent £70 on Rift games. I guess I’d better buy the Rift 2 so I don’t lose my games.”

            Its anti-consumer walled-garden nonsense and I’m wondering if Facebook are beginning to think they may have over-valued Oculus…

          • beestee

            I don’t think the lack of 3rd party HMD support will last until Gen 2.

            I think it is contingent on Oculus catching up to Vive’s immersive controls and room scale before adding support. As you said, if Vive was supported in Oculus Home today, there would be no good reason to choose a Rift over a Vive today.

            It might be an anti-consumer walled-garden approach, but at this point is would make no business sense for them to do otherwise.

          • dextrovix

            Precisely. One way is very flexible, the other is not. Which is unfair for consumers.

        • dextrovix

          I can respect that point of view. However, coming from a PC-centric point of view, despite being tied to Windows, and tied to Steam, by buying from Steam there are no restrictions to being tied to one HMD manufacturer, and therefore the freedom is there to have either hardware device for the same title. But not so if the same title is bought from Oculus Home.
          I can understand many end users coming from console would accept that (as do you), but many people using PCs expect titles to stay working, and Oculus Home prevents that more than the main rival.
          Which doesn’t benefit the end user, whether they realise it or not.

          • beestee

            I do agree, the current situation with Oculus Home means less sales. But I also feel that they can, should, and most likely will open Oculus Home to thrid party HMDs once they can devote resources for QA on third party device support.

            The way Lucky’s Tale is only blocked off by this one artificial barrier though is probably the reason for most of the lack of confidence that they will keep their word. They should have given a code for it just like they did for EVE Valkyrie, and make it paid in the store, then all this ruckus would be unnecessary. There would be unofficial support through revive and the DRM would be transparent for anything but piracy.

        • [AKA] Kraut

          Spoken like a true console peasant.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          I think the console analogy is flawed in that a console is a computer with an operating system whereas a headset is a peripheral. The computer you run these games on is the same regardless of the headset so any locking to the headset is purely artificial and done only for profit motives.

          • beestee

            The Xbox One and PS4 are more similar than most computers…

          • Graham J ⭐️

            Only hardware-wise. Their operating systems are entirely different.

    • Agree but, dont suck HTC’s dick so fast, they have much more exclusives wich cant be played on Oculus Rift

      • Jonathan Peverall

        You are on crack. The only Vive games that can’t be forced to play on Rift are the ones that DEVELOPERS have decided to make without Rift support. That, and ones that physically cannot due to lack of motion support by Rift. There are ZERO games which Valve has deemed “First Party” and thus exclusive to Vive due to DRM checks.

        • beestee

          Valve doesn’t stand to gain much by making SteamVR a closed Vive platform, HTC would get the most benefit from that stance.

          Valve stands to gain more with the current open stance. This could lead to the cannibalization of HTC though, since their hardware has to be superior than all alternatives to survive, to stand on it’s own if you will.

          The Rift is lagging behind in controls and room scale. If they didn’t have control of the platform then they would be cannibalizing their own hardware from launch until Touch is released.

          • Jonathan Peverall

            And yet more proof of Valve dedication to open source in the VR market. It’s almost like they know how the PC community works. They obviously understand that they need to be more dedicated to the growth of the VR as opposed to maximizing profit this early in be game. Valve releases the assets they developed for “the lab” as open source. 100% free. https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/63141

      • fwd

        You can play all Vive games with a Rift. Just use Hydra controllers. Valve even gave you the Hydra drivers.

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    We will also support oculus in our games, but for sure just launch at STEAM, they already have a long term gaming portal to buy games, ther eis no reason to put anything on occulus home, they are games infused by money from occulus moslty so they want their investment back.
    Thats understandable in a certain way, on the other hand they could even get their money faster back by having Vive users also buying it.

    The moves they make are all not going to pay off, indeed Valve and Steam did it correct for VR, Google is next with their DayDream, even samsung is going to release phones for it, stepping away from the Oculus home ??…
    Several months ago i already said Vive is the winner, and it still is.
    I own Vive and develop on it too, they still have their own VivePort too additional to STEAM, although steam has more and its in sync with most too, just a matter where you pay to.

    So funny the occulus, even google already got a controller for their DayDream instead of a gamepad!!

    They just thought they would be the only one having VR for a while, just as facebook thought they would last forever.
    The world changes fast, if you cant fullfill customers demands you just become a looser at the end.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Uhh, the controller for their daydream isn’t anything special, it’s far from being a decend motion controller..

      • veritas

        I think DiGiT’s main point was 3rd party PC VR devs are going to with publish their games on SteamVR to support both VIVE and Rift. Android VR apps devs and phone makers including Samsung are going to stick with Google Daydream – so by next year, GearVR will no longer be powered by Oculus. Oculus Home will become sparsely populated with a few mediocre VR exclusive games designed with XBOX gamepad in mind.

        • DiGiCT Ltd

          Correct you get the idea ;)
          The mistake occulus made is trying to reinvent a software distribution platform, as mostly devs pay 30% to either google, steam or apple store, this makes even bigger profit for them as the HMD it selves as it only needs a cloud platform investment.
          Although their idea just might been so easy to take that part too as at the beginning they where the only one developing a VR set at high level.
          Dont forget that the rift originally would have been a steam device if all went as it supposed to be, but somewhere on the path they split cooperation with valve, might just have been greed for money, or whatever stupid reason.
          Just read the articles about it online there are several if you want to know more.
          Lucky enough steam and google both will deploy an open platform and a standard for VR apps developers which ofcourse at the end will benefit as well the devs as well the end consumers.
          PC and mobile gaming are so popular because consumers are not locked to the device they are using.
          The future is for open platforms, not closed ones, that time is over.
          Big game dev software is all free now and even most of them are opensource, time changes people want freedom of choice.
          An other example is the Vulcan api fighting the long closed DirectX.
          Soon more games can run very well on Linux too, dont forget Android is a cut down and modified linux too.

  • Peter

    While it’s oculus’ right to bar cross compatibility they should be honest about it. Obviously, they are doing this because they want to get a competitive edge over the vive (which is probably doing a lot better than they thought), and having software exclusives gets factored into consumer’s decision when choosing between the two systems. Just fess up about it.

    • KDmP_Raze

      No other VR headsets are going to Bar cross compatibility or pursue exclusives. The practices are bad for the health of VR and Rift did a lot of lip service about making the moves that are best for VR first.

      • ummm…

        how in the span of a few months did Rift become the Death Star? They used to be the shining city on a hill.

        • KDmP_Raze

          It launched and the claims didn’t stand up to the product.

          • ummm…

            would it be different if the vive had not come out? i hadn’t followed the rift as closely as most – and ultimately ended up with a vive.

        • Stephen Middlehurst

          Honestly think it comes down to a massively botched launch. First you had the sticker shock of a price significantly higher than most people had assumed it would be based on past comments. Then they came nowhere close to meeting demand so even now you’re looking at a 3 month lead time. Touch is going to be an add-on which rarely ends well and there’s no word on cost (but it’s unlikely to be cheap).

          Add in some weird decisions (like bundling a XB1 controller where most early adopters probably have either a 1 or 360 pad lying around anyway), some very poor communications, a competing platform in the Vive which seemingly came out of nowhere to leapfrog Oculus (that’s the perception anyway, whether that’s accurate is open to debate) and the Facebook boogeyman lurking in the background and you end up with… well, as you said, Death Star.

          • ummm…

            well said and concise. surprised you hadn’t mentioned Oculus Home or the room scale problem. I’m a vive owner and I’m very eager to see the Rift Touch controllers and their room scale solution. The only thing I feel I’m missing out on is a slightly better screen clarity. I’m going to go ahead and assume that the difference is largely negligible in game.

          • Stephen Middlehurst

            I’m assuming based on reviews from those with no skin in the game that any difference in image quality is a) minimal and b) likely to be negated by the soft squishy things viewing the image, especially after 20 years in IT.

            In a way I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Oculus. They delivered a good system and are investing in content so, DRM aside, they’re not doing a horrible job for their users. Unfortunately they’ve been tripped up by bad communication and a manufacturing chain that seems to be in desperate need of oiling. While the buyout from Facebook certainly brought them cash it’s not as if FB is used to launching consumer hardware so maybe the issues aren’t surprising…

            More I think about it I wonder how much the switch in design philosophy between DK2 and CV1 hurt them. Dual displays, while necessary, must bump the price significantly and the jump in complexity can’t make things any easier on the supply side. Don’t get me wrong, glad they did it as the benefits are obvious but the final Rift is a long way from the relatively simple $300 DK1.

      • Peter

        I generally agree with you but I also can see Oculus’ point of view – they spent a lot of money helping developers with some of these titles and they want to recoup it, so they made a calculating business decision that probably balanced the commission they get from game sales (if any – I don’t know if there’s a royalty to sell in the rift store) against the benefit of a larger market share and additional rift sales they’ll make by having exclusive titles. But it’s your right to boycott oculus because they are enforcing exclusivity and that makes some sense in perhaps getting oculus to change its mind and doing what you think is right if enough people think the same way. My point is that Oculus isn’t being honest about it with a lot of nonsensical double talk and there’s no excuse for that. BTW I own a Vive and love it, don’t have a rift, so I personally would benefit if Oculus was open.

  • KDmP_Raze

    Oculus have sadly done many things that are anti consumer and segment the VR platform.

    Non-mandatory motion controls in order to beat competitors to market

    Making exclusivity deals with third party devs, further segmenting the vr platform

    Actively stopping functionality of workarounds for competing HMDs ability to play purchased Oculus software

    Creating mistrust by phoning into FB servers every 20 seconds even when the home program is off and having clauses in the license agreement that allows for total tracking including mic recording.

    Everyone needs to realize what they are promoting when they purchase a Rift vs other competing HMDs. PC is the last open gaming platform and we shouldn’t accept these console type tactics here.

    Imagine what Nvidia and Intel will do if this practice is accepted by the community?!

    • ummm…

      great point. I hope the attention PC games are getting isn’t going to corrupt them more than they already have.

      I want that open platform, and I dont think any company can stop it. The PC is inherently open because to close it would a) stunt the young children that fiddle around with their comp and become programmers etc. b) mean that hardware and OS developers need to completely change their architecture etc. etc. I could be completely wrong seeing as I’ve had a PC since the late 80s and still can’t code. Funnily enough my Vive is making me want to learn how to develop software.

  • Badelhas

    Another reason for choosing the HTC Vive. When they decide to start selling it in my country, of course…. Until them, I’ll have to wait :(

  • ERock

    I wondered if buying a PSVR was a mistake because of content I might not get to experience that would never make it to my HMD. Now I see it doesn’t matter because no one is actually going to share “their” content openly anyway. As always, it’s about the Benjamin’s. Guess it doesn’t matter what platform you go with, you will never have access to all the content that is available…

    • Dunnlang

      I have not gotten any yet, but I am leaning towards PSVR as it seems like it will be the most content complete system and provide the most solid game play experiences. This first major generation of headsets is more of a glorified tech demo with some boutique experiences. I personally do not see $800+ value in that.

      Maybe it’s worth jumping on the bandwagon when the walls come down and a wider variety of headset displays, motion controllers and trackers are implemented.

      In short, buy cheap for fun to start. Invest when there is an actual platform (with a future) to invest in.

    • ummm…

      i think by far the safest bet is to go with the platform that may not have access to all content, but has as open a platform as possible; after all you can’t do anything about the kid in the playground that won’t share his candy. you just keep living.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Except with disabling the check if the software was bought through the store, it makes Revive illegal in many countries..

    But then again, try and play a game without the Steam platform, you’ll also have to use a hacked Steam DLL to be able to do that.

    And valve supporting the rift, is ofcourse purely in their own interest, their interest is selling more games through Steam, and with Oculus users also being able to buy games (which are a bit rare for VR at the moment) just means more money for them..
    Yes and Steam is propably everybody’s favorite digital library, but that doesn’t mean you should be blind and only point a finger at Oculus for them trying to protect their shop.. Now if HTC would support the OculusSDK themselves, then there would be no problem..

    • Graham J ⭐️

      But it didn’t protect their shop. You still had to buy the games from Oculus.

    • ummm…

      protect their shop? Oculus users can buy on steam…….

  • Mike McLin

    The reality is Oculus wants to be Valve, but they are HTC. Everybody talks about Facebook being the Goliath, but in reality it’s Steam. It simply can’t be beat. There is no reason to buy anything on a different platform, unless it’s not on Steam. It’s a monopoly. All of the money is in the software distribution, and Oculus wants some of that pie, but you can only beat a monopoly with exclusives. In the end, you’re hated for having and enforcing the exclusives, so it is a no win situation really.

    Sure they’ll keep distributing software, but they’ll never win that game. Nobody wants their library of games split up between multiple providers. Steam is established, so players will stick with Steam. It’s so easy for Valve to look like the good guys because they are the ones that benefit from an open platform, because they already have the distribution monopoly.

    • ummm…

      good points. funnily enough, i am upset that I’m forced to buy my PC games on Steam (unless i find an oldie but goodie on GOG or D2D or GG that doesn’t connect to Steam); but when it came to VR it was comforting to know that Valve and HTC had worked together and there would be a seamless integration with what I was familiar with, and was still an open platform. Valve won me over there. Things could change again, but……

    • Alan Roberts

      Steam is not a monopoly , there are plenty of other digital distributors out there.
      uplay store, origin gog etc. (to be a monopoly steam would be the only one)

      its not valves fault that their competitors can’t provide as good a service and they got as big as they did, it didn’t happen over night.
      it has taken valve decades in the industry to get steam where it is
      we should grudge them nothing. and tbh be thankful it is the way it is. (I know steam has saved me a fortune over the years)

      uplay is a disaster because ubi refuse to sell their games any less than full box price on release its as simple as that.

      people go where the value is and by and large steam gives good value for money. its the simplest of economic ideas sell low sell many, sell high sell little.

      it just proves that valve know how to do it right and is another reason any PC gamer interested in a VR headset should go with vive over oculus (the hardware is pretty much identical at the end of the day ,
      its the politics and backgrounds of the companies involved thats the selling point)

      • Mike McLin

        Monopoly, meaning they own nearly all of the market, have no real competitors and can influence the industry however they see fit.

        Regardless, the main point is that Valve’s open platform position is an easy one to take when they are the main benefactors. The other thing is…Oculus is in trouble. I’m not meaning trouble, like going out of business trouble, but trouble as in they will never be the company they originally aspired to be. They launched too late and lost any real first to market momentum to better tech that stole the headlines and the momentum. I can’t fathom a world where Oculus Home (which I might slightly prefer) beats out Steam.

        Now you look at daydream, and you begin to wonder what that means for Oculus store on GearVR. It’s like Steam all over again, except now it’s Android Play. Even Amazon couldn’t put a dent into the Play store with their Android App Market, and they were giving away paid apps for free.

        • Alan Roberts

          thing is tho that its not just about steam open platform , sure it has worked out in valves favour at this point but valve had a LOT to do with the actual development and testing for oculus.

          they heard what palmer and carmack were up to and did a lot of testing at aperture labs ;) believeing that oculus intended an open platform.
          they passed that knowledge onto oculus (valve were a big part of working out the motion sickness problems), palmer luckey had said as much that he wanted the tech available to all and that VR should NOT be tied to a specific device.

          then facebook gets involved and starts shooting everybody in the feet.
          half the valve VR team jump ship to oculus and the shitstorm begins.

          palmer luckey sold his soul to the devil before a product was even ready and flipped the finger to a lot of people who had helped him realise his dream.

          its hardly surprising that Valve said FK you and teamed up with htc.
          oculus only have themselves to blame for the current situation

    • Satoru

      People keep confusing what Steam’s business model is.

      Steam is a MIDDLEWARE COMPANY that just happens to have a store

      Everything Steam does is to drive their middleware platform. By investing in Steamworks, they get all the benefits. Content is driven to their platform. They don’t need to make HL3 because a dozen other companies are going to make a ‘hit’ game with their middleware integration.

      Mcdonalds isn’t in the hamburger business, they’re in the real estate and franchise business. Steam is not in the store business, they’re in the game middleware business.

      • Mike McLin

        How do you monetize a game middleware business? (I’m unfamiliar)

  • Steve_in_Florida

    Oculus can us the same legal precedent that Microsoft used against a hacker known as Viodentia (an anagram of deviation) who consistently broke microsoft’s drm in windows media player which allowed stripping drm from streamed, drm protected content that was accessed using a subscription streaming service. The fact that Viodentia used code snippets from microsoft’s sdk violated the terms of the sdk. They filed a massive law suit which was dismissed without prejudice as Viodentia was able to hide his location and identity. (The case was filed against John doe dba viodentia). If you want to read about this cat and mouse game Google FairUse4DRM. Viodentia retired his coding skills due to the threat of an immense lawsuit.

  • Sam Illingworth

    If I had ordered a Rift rather than a Vive I’d be cancelling it. I’ll also be tempted to pirate Oculus exclusives now.

    • James Friedman

      I wouldn’t be surprised if those ACTUAL pirated games start to pop up soon

  • beestee

    I think there is a simple way out of this for Oculus…keep the seamless Oculus Home experience untouched and offer Early-Access Steam keys for all purchases made in the Oculus Home Store with the caveat that third party HMD support is functional, but not guaranteed as per standard Early-Access titles.

    They get more sales through their storefront without further development and third party HMD users get to play the games with limited support and no reasonable need for an exploit. Oculus Rift users also get some peace of mind for future hardware compatibility on their purchases.

    I don’t think exclusive developers would mind this change of stance since it would just equate to more sales.

  • dogtato

    Glad I cancelled my Rift. It already bothers me that I had to switch back to Windows from Linux, but that’s understandable. I would buy their games if they’d let me, but they apparently view purchases as piracy so they can just piss off. Too bad for them, I probably spent at least $100 on Gear VR titles and I’ve already spent $320 on steam for VR content. It would take a big mea culpa on their part for me to give them a dime now.

  • Ryan Green

    Does it not matter to folks that revive allowed users to play Oculus package software like Lucky’s Tale, Dreamdeck, etc. etc for free? This was bundled software for oculus rift owners. If Vive owners were using that software (as they were), to me that is piracy. That is a software work around to use software you didn’t purchase. Not sure why this isn’t more commonly noted.

    • ummm…

      those games can’t be bought via home?

  • James Friedman

    None of this stuff pisses me off cause it’s like crying over Tomb raider being available at launch for Xbox One and not PS4. This is pretty common place. I am sure support for Oculus exclusives will eventually make it to the Vive. Stop crying like babies. Going forward there will always be exclusives since they are competing for your business. If you don’t like it then buy both

  • Kai2591

    War
    War never changes

    *ja-jang jang-ja-jang jang!*

  • VR Mark

    The Oculus Rift is irrelevant and grasping to hang on. 2nd place is first loser and it seems that they are sore in their placement.

    • ummm…

      all too early to tell, but im happy i went with vive at the moment.

  • Ainar

    I like that it’s called ‘Entitlement Check’, almost as if it’s meant to keep the feelings of entitlement in check.

  • Peter Hansen

    Oculus broke a major promise twice now. First the sold to Facebook
    shortly after the successful Kickstarter. And now they keep other
    headsets out when they said they wouldn’t. Oculus, you are greedy
    f***ers.

  • XB0n3z

    Remember Xbox one launch Oculus.. Remember.. History WILL repeat itself. Common Facebookulus, just let the games run where they want.. If you want to continue this DRM route, then build your own independent platform like PS4, or XB1. Dont tell me what I can do with software I purchased on my $3000 computer and my $650 oculus and my $60 VR experience, all which I paid for and own.. LEGALLY!.

  • XB0n3z

    Also, if there end up being more Vive’s purchased in the world, wouldn’t it be profitable to make oculus store purchases to be playable on the more dominate VR Headset? Nintendo for the first time is loosing money so they are now making games for both IOS and Android.. HINT HINT HINT.. why is oculus trying to undo what history has already shown to be.

  • 3Dgerbil

    Oculus were the first in VR, now they’re behing almost anybody… So they’re trying to protect their walled garden; I just stay outside. Mark Zuckerberg would like to put a Gear VR on everybody’s face a make you live just in his FB world; the picture from MWC opening in Barcelona was quite scary…

  • Mageoftheyear

    Good article Paul. Very fair.

    > Luckey’s comments above may hint at frustrations with the current
    situation, a possible inference from “impossible for reasons outside our
    control” that Oculus had attempted to bridge the headset compatibility
    gap at some point but hit an impasse.

    I remember hearing something along these lines; that Oculus said they needed Valve/HTC’s permission to integrate the Vive with Oculus Home and its titles using the Oculus SDK. Oculus wanted full software control over the integration.

    IIRC, Valve’s response to that was something like “Oculus are free to use the OpenVR SDK to do that.” – A polite version of “no.”

    It’s important to remember that OpenVR is Valve’s native SDK for the Vive. They are using their native tool to enable Rift support in combination with the Oculus Runtime. And Valve’s implementation of OpenVR is not Open Source. Oculus would need to make their own OpenVR fork.
    And this is where I believe Valve are being petty – and being misleading with their liberal use of the word “open” in their SDK and in their tweets.

    I’d love it if we could see a tit for tat agreement between Oculus and Valve where both companies consent to allow each other to use their own software to support their competitors hardware from end to end.

    Sadly, I don’t think that day will ever come, and equally depressing is the total lack of awareness of this aspect of the debate amongst “VR enthusiasts.”
    The War of the VR SDKs is being waged very quietly.

  • Daemon Hunt

    Imagine if PC games were exclusive to either AMD or Nvidia GPU’s! Thankfully this is not the case. These two peripheral giants battle it out with performance-based tactics, which is exactly what should be happening here. It’s pretty silly what Oculus is doing. In the end, I believe the gaming community will vote with their wallets… like we always do :) The good thing about competitiveness at this stage in the game is it drives innovation harder. I imagine things will change quite a bit in the coming months.

    • Mr. New Vegas

      They PAID for the game, they invested money to create a game, they have no reason to support any other platform.

      • Daemon Hunt

        Like I said, we vote with OUR wallets. How else do they make money to PAY for their continued existence?

  • I love gamer arguments. Here’s the 411. Oculus is owned by Facebook. Facebook is owned by Mark Fuckertwerp. Mark is known to want to control the lives and ideas of billions. Oculus was fine before the acquisition. I owned DK1 and DK2 and loved them until Fuckertwerp saw an opportunity to latch on to the company. It has nothing to do with anything other than his own selfish desires and his desire to control the VR space much in the way Elon Musk now pretty much owns the Electric Car and Consumer Space Flight futures with Space X and Tesla. The difference is that Elon Musk does it for a larger global picture, where Mark simply likes jerking off to his own visage. Don’t be surprised when they release a new “upgrade” and lock you out of your software unless you make a new hardware purchase. Don’t be surprised that they are also tracking your online play the same way they track you on Facebook. Try both headsets. The tracking and immersion on the Vive is FAR superior to the Oculus, which feels like little more than a modified Gear VR. The touch controllers also suck.

  • mpd

    to This whole foolishness is the primary reason that I chose Vive over Rift ab initio; I will not knowingly purchase from any monopolist.

    But here’s the rub: if a written-exclusively-for-Oculus game won’t play on Vive, doesn’t Oculus lose that game sale? For example, I recently inquired of Codemasters if they intended to add Vive support to their titles, in addition to Rift and PSVR; they told me they had no plans to do so. I told them I had no plans to buy their products.

    It seems that Oculus is depending on the Vive user to be so frustrated by the lack of being able to play a Rift game that they will abandon the Vive platform. That’s a long shot indeed.

    After my total investment in my Vive hardware, and its native superiority to the Rift hardware, which includes the long list of Vive innovations that Rift copies so freely, I am not so immature that I would let my desire to play ANY given title that was Oculus bound to persuade me to play it under ReVive.

    Why? Who knows when Oculus will have another selfish twinge and clamp down again, making my money ill-spent?

    It seems to boil down to just one aspect: Zuck’s avarice. The Facebook crowd is the most intolerant of the two platforms. So CONTROL seems to head these Oculus charts.

    I shall spend my money where I have the best chance to continue to use my purchases freely.

    #PhukZuck