Oculus has stopped blocking exclusive content on other headsets

We all know that virtual reality is going to be massive, which is why so many companies are trying to secure a dominant position in the emerging industry while it’s still in its infancy. One of the ways Oculus has been trying to achieve this is by paying developers, using the obscene amount of money it has access to through Facebook, to develop content exclusively for Oculus headsets. It also uses strict DRM to ensure that competing headsets like the HTC Vive won’t be able to use any of this exclusive content, which has pissed off a lot of people, who claim that locking down content hurts the community. In response to these complaints, Oculus announced on Friday that it’s loosening some of these restrictions.

An Oculus update posted today quietly removes a feature that blocked Oculus software from being played on other headsets — something that the community has been up in arms about for a month. 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. “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,” wrote the developer, LibreVR, in patch notes for version 0.6.2 of Revive, released early this morning. 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. TechCrunch spoke with Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell last week at E3 in Los Angeles. Luckey explained the strategy of bringing developers into the Oculus fold as a move to advance VR at large by producing the best possible content — even if that content is only available for one system and not others.

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Written by Michio Hasai

Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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