A few days ago, Oculus released an update for its Rift VR headset aiming to “curb piracy and protect games and apps that developers have worked so hard to make”, but now it seems that this move is doing more harm rather than good.
This specific v1.4 patch which was released last Friday adds an extra security measure before the launch of every Oculus exclusive game. As a result, the app checks whether you have a Rift headset connected or not. This update effectively blocked a piece of pre-release software called Revive, which enables users to play exclusive Rift games bought from the Oculus store on competing VR headsets like the HTC Vive.
After this update, those who legitimately bought Oculus games/programs on HTC’s Vive were not able to run their purchased software, at least not until Revive’s creators released a workaround update which not only restores the aimed functionality of the app, but also allows users to bypass Rift's DRM process, making piracy easier. Revive’s creator, Libre VR states that:
The original version of Revive simply took functions from the Oculus Runtime and translated them to OpenVR calls [...] The new version of Revive now uses the same injection technique to bypass Oculus’ ownership check altogether. By disabling the ownership check the game can no longer determine whether you legitimately own the game.
“This is my first success at bypassing the DRM, I really didn't want to go down that path. I still do not support piracy, do not use this library for pirated copies”, Libre VR said in a post to Reddit. Libre VR also said that Revive wasn’t designed for piracy and if he finds a way that doesn’t require disabling the ownership check, he will implement it.
It is also noteworthy that just five months ago Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey, wrote on Reddit that “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, our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware.” It will be quite interesting to see how Oculus responds to the challenge by closing the doors to VR piracy while also blocking the updated Revive app.