Oculus update stops you from using VR apps with HTC's Vive

Welcome to copy protection in the virtual reality era.

HTC Vive and Oculus Rift owners generally have a lot in common, including access to many of the same apps and games. However, it looks like a gulf is opening up between the two virtual reality headsets. Oculus has released an app update whose improved "platform integrity checks" break support for Revive, an unofficial tool that lets Rift-specific apps (those in Oculus Home) run on HTC's gear. If you ask Revive's creators, they believe that Oculus is checking that its hardware is connected regardless of the app you're using -- previously, you only had to convince individual apps that there's a Rift attached.

It's possible to get around this barrier if you have an Oculus Rift (DK2 or the finished version) hooked up when you start an app, but this isn't exactly practical for VR fans who only have money to spend on one device.

An Oculus spokesman speaking to Ars Technica maintains that the update wasn't specifically targeted at Revive, and that the goal was solely to fight piracy of titles that developers "worked so hard to make." There's some truth to that (it's easier to crack programs when there are no hardware checks), but there's no question that this creates a chilling effect for Vive owners who just want to see what they're missing. It's also somewhat contradictory for Oculus. Founder Palmer Luckey said he didn't want to lock people into his headsets, but that appears to be happening all the same -- you may have to get used to copy protection dictating the VR experiences you're allowed to have.