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Oculus security update backfires - software piracy is now easier

by Mark Tyson on 23 May 2016, 13:01

Tags: Facebook

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac23f

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In April we reported on a 'proof of concept' program which allowed software that was previously exclusive to the Oculus Rift to run on the rival HTC Vive VR system. Once patched it was found that several Oculus-only titles were eminently useable/playable on the HTC Vive, and the signature Oculus Dreamdeck application was said to be even better on its rival's hardware. Now it is obvious that Oculus didn't like a rival firm enjoying the fruits from its walled garden and brought out a 'security patch' to make such activities more difficult. However, the move has backfired…

Last week Oculus released its v1.4 security patch. As reported by Kotaku, the patch included extra security which checks whether an Oculus Rift headset is connected as a game or app launches. This move stopped the aforementioned patch/hack program 'Revive' from working.

Unfortunately, in order to make Revive functional again, the developer has had to take steps that will make piracy of Oculus games much easier. Talking to Motherboard magazine, Revive creator, Libre VR, explained 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."

It’s a step that Libre VR didn't want to take but at the moment it is the only solution to the security patch v1.4 feature of blocking of rival VR hardware. The Revive developer asserted that he doesn't support piracy and asked users of his software to please "do not use this library for pirated copies".

It must be remembered that Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey, said in a Reddit discussion only five months ago, "If customers buy a game from us, I don't care if they mod it to run on whatever they want." That statement is proving to be misleading in the face of the security features added to Oculus patch v1.4.



HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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Brilliant. I hope they all get pirated to hell.

We are at the beginning of a new phase in gaming and we have the first-to-market trying to stifle competition before the competition had even shipped anything…….talk about giving a technology it's least likely chance to succeed.

This whole VR vendor business is keeping me well away from the tech for the foreseeable future.
If one things going to kill of VR before it even gets started it would be locking down the software to only run on one device.
While opening up routes to piracy is never a good thing, and while I'm sure Facebook as we speak are phoning up their legal team, they kinda deserved that.

No surprise ofcourse that on the brink of new technology, they want to keep as much of the new lucrative market as possible, but for an emerging technology thats really the last thing we probably want as consumers.

Whether piracy is the right way to send that message is questionable, but its been proven in the past, for better or worse, that it atleast gets attention. Whether it will receive the right kind of attention though, we'll have to wait and see.
shaithis
Brilliant. I hope they all get pirated to hell. *snip* This whole VR vendor business is keeping me well away from the tech for the foreseeable future.

So because you don't like that there's more than one standard (ATM), you hope that any developer that invests time in supporting a VR platform loses their income?

“Oh yeah, well I would have bought a VR system but because there's two different VR systems to choose from I won't, and I hope that every developer that writes games for them get's their software stolen. That'll learn ‘em!”

Well aren’t we all glad you're not in charge. Oculus' DRM checks are crappy, and having two systems that aren't universally compatible is crappy, but wishing financial harm to befall those who support said systems isn't helping.
As much as I dislike Facebook and this whole idea of walling off their product means that I won't be buying an Oculus, I can understand why they're doing it. If people are complaining that a company is tying software to hardware and not allowing anyone else to play then why is no-one accusing Microsoft of doing the same thing ? With the two best selling current gen consoles running on PC hardware, where are the pitchforks and torches over them not allowing PC owners to run XBox One games ? Hypothetically you could even get PS4 games running on a PC, both consoles should only have software issues. Of course there might be hardware security built-in to consoles to prevent this, but is that any better than what Oculus is doing in software ?
Sony, Microsoft and Oculus have all put large amounts of money into hardware and all three almost certainly also did the same with software before launch so that the hardware would sell. The difference with Oculus seems to be that it's creator made promises that he couldn't keep and selling out to Facebook compounded the problem.

I'm now looking at buying a Vive, Oculus was the plan but the acquisition by Facebook made that unlikely as long as there was any sort of half-decent competition. From reports, the Vive is at least as good as the Oculus, so that's what I'm looking at going forward.