The Impending Platform War

Virtual reality is currently dominated by The Big 2: The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Both headsets are supported by their own software hub. Oculus has Oculus Home, and the HTC Vive has SteamVR.

That said, the Oculus Rift can access SteamVR, which makes it all the stranger that Oculus Home does not support the HTC Vive; however, there is some backstory to this. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, took to Reddit last month saying: “We can only extend our SDK to work with other headsets if the manufacturer allows us to do so.”

This indicates that, in the case of the Oculus Store natively supporting the HTC Vive headset, the ball is essentially in HTC and Valve’s court. Luckey continues, “It does not take very much imagination to come up with reasons why they might not be able or interested.”

Back in March, HTC Vive Head Daniel O’Brien told Digital Trends that the subject of getting the Vive to work on the Oculus Store has never been discussed in meetings between the Oculus and HTC teams. With all this, it’s easy to assume that HTC Vive won’t be accessing the Oculus Store anytime soon,

But that’s exactly what the unofficial LibreVR plugin lets you do...

Oculus exclusive Lucky's Tale running on the HTC Vive with the SteamVR grid lines. (Sam Machkovech)


And it works, but probably just until it’s patched. LibreVR is a “proof-of-concept compatibility layer between the Oculus SDK and OpenVR.” The premise is that any games that run on either the Unity or Unreal Engine made for the Oculus Rift should also work for the Vive.

For now, the plugin only supports two games; Lucky’s Tale and Oculus Dreamdeck. Moreover, LibreVR is still an alpha, so there are some issues with how both games run, but it works.

Oculus reached out to Ars Technica with a statement: "This is a hack, and we don’t condone it. Users should expect that hacked games won’t work indefinitely, as regular software updates to games, apps, and our platform are likely to break hacked software."

But for now, there is access.

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