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Oculus removes hardware DRM that preventing VR games from working with HTC's Vive

In a big move for openness in the VR landscape, Oculus has stepped back from its position of blocking its games from working on the HTC Vive. The company quietly issued an update for its desktop software today which strips away the headset exclusivity check that has caused VR fans so much consternation, Ars Technica reports.

The update, Runtime 1.5, doesn’t include the feature retraction in the release notes. The news came from the creator of Revive, a tool that allowed Oculus software to be played on Valve and HTC’s Vive headset — and which was seen as the target for the hardware lockdown in the first place.

That limitation pushed the developers of the Revive tool, which lets Vive owners play Oculus games, to completely crack Oculus's DRM last month. But in response to today's news, the Revive devs have dumped their DRM cracking technology.

"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," a Revive developer wrote on GitHub. "As such I've reverted the DRM patch and removed all binaries from previous releases that contained the patch."

While console gamers are used to games being exclusive to certain hardware, that's new territory for PC gamers. It's hard to blame PC fans for getting annoyed, though -- even Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has said he doesn't want to lock games to the Rift. Given that the VR landscape is so young, it makes more sense to encourage cross-compatibility. Oculus came under fire at E3 for striking deals to land exclusive games, but today's update shows it's actually listening to its critics.

The removal is essentially a mea culpa from Oculus, which over the last few weeks has faced hard questions from press and users about its strategy in locking down content to its own platform. Restricting games to its own hardware was seen by many as a move that benefited no one but Oculus, and harmed the VR community at large. 

Oculus confirmed to Ars that it removed the headset in today's update, and it also added "we won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future." Still, the company doesn't plan to give up entirely on copy protection. 

"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,"

HTC Vive and Oculus Rift owners generally have a lot in common, including access to many of the same apps and games.

Source: Reddit, Oculus , Ars Technica

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