Facebook-owned Oculus VR has moved to block the use of its software on rival virtual reality headsets, in a move which has ironically opened the company up to software theft.
As Oculus VR continues to march towards fulfilling its pre-orders and placing its virtual reality hardware into stores, it is becoming increasingly clear that its corporate overlord Facebook sees its subsidiary's value in the platform rather than the devices themselves. When software was released to allow Oculus VR software to run on the HTC Vive
, it appeared to be entirely in-keeping with founder Palmer Luckey's December comments that users would be free to hack around with the software - including making it run on non-Oculus hardware.
Late last week Oculus VR updated its software platform, and in doing so blocked the mechanism by which the Revive plugin made Oculus content work on non-Oculus hardware. That move appears to have backfired in a major way: where the previous implementation of Revive still communicated with Oculus servers for ownership validation, the latest update - compatible only with Unreal Engine games for now, with Unity support promised in the near future - disables the entire platform, meaning it's now possible to download a pirated copy of an Oculus VR game and play it without purchase.
Despite Luckey's claims, it's clear the fight isn't over: Oculus VR responding to the popularity of Revive so quickly shows that the company, or its corporate owner, is serious about keeping the Oculus platform closed and proprietary - and gamers can expect to see yet another software release in the near future designed to block Revive once again as developers engage in what promises to be an ongoing game of cat-and-mouse.