Technology

Oculus Fixes Embarrassing Glitch That Made Rift VR Headset Useless

Facebook, Oculus Rift VR headset
beejees / Pixabay

The Oculus Rift VR headset will start working again after facing a glitch yesterday, when some of them stopped working. The investigation into the issue by the Facebook-owned company revealed that the problem was related to an expired certificate, which determines if the software running on the headset is original or not.

Nate Mitchell, co-founder of Oculus and also the head of the Rift team, confirmed that the problem is resolved and apologized on behalf of the company. Mitchell tweeted that it was a mistake from the company’s end. Further, to please the users he also offered a gift.

“Folks impacted by today’s downtime will be provided with an Oculus store credit. More details to follow soon. Thanks again for everyone’s patience as we worked through this one,” he tweeted.

Though the issue of the expired certificate should come as an embarrassment for Oculus, the fact that the company made sure the problem was fixed overnight is commendable. The patch is now available to download from the Oculus website. The users need to download the file, select repair and then re-launch the Oculus app.

The issue was first reported on Reddit, where a post on the topic invited hundreds of comments from users facing the same issue. According to the users, they got the error message “Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service” when trying to boot up. Some users suggested that uninstalling/re-installing the Oculus software might work, but it only added to the frustration of the users.

Finally, a user got a clue and pointed to the expired license. Most of the operating systems would not allow the software to run without a valid license as there is no appropriate authentication. The recent glitch could be a sort of dampener for the company’s flagship device at a time when Oculus is delivering major software updates announced in the recent developer conference.

“I expect this sort of mistake from some fly-by-night Chinese company that operated for a few weeks and no longer exists. Not Oculus,” one user wrote on the Oculus support forum. “You don’t forget things that brick all your products.”

Oculus has quite a fan following when it comes to the Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. The head gear from the Facebook-owned company recently toppled HTC Vive to become the most popular VR headset among the Steam players, according to a monthly survey conducted by the digital distribution platform. The Steam Hardware & Software Survey for Feb. 2018 revealed that 47% of the respondents were using the Oculus Rift, whereas 45% were using an HTC Vive. This was the first time Rift outpaced Vive in the monthly survey.

Though the survey is not a conclusive proof of Oculus Rift being better than Vive in every department; it does give an insight into the changing preference of the gamers when it comes to their favorite VR handset. Also, the survey is voluntary, meaning it does not consider all Steam VR players.

Nevertheless, it does not change the fact that Rift is catching up fast, despite the fact that Vive once enjoyed a double-digit percentage lead over the Rift. Also, another interesting point to note is that Vive users usually prefer Steam, as Valve is the co-developer of the VR headset. Oculus Rift users also have access to the Oculus Store. If the Oculus Store is pulled out of the picture, the Rift might have a much higher success rate on the Steam, notes Tech Times.

Price could also have a role to play in the success of the Rift. While Rift coupled with controllers is priced at $399, Vive remains on the high end costing around $599. Earlier, the Rift handset only was available for $499, while with controllers it cost $598. Oculus, however, decided to cut the price permanently last year in October.

To capture more of the market, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced Oculus Go in October of last year. A few days ago, John Carmack, Oculus’ Chief Technology Officer, answered a curious question about the device.

In a Twitter exchange with a Galaxy S7 owner, Carmack said that the Oculus Go headset VR would perform “significantly better” than the S7 in a Samsung Gear VR headset. The CPU of both the devices is similar; S7 is powered by Snapdragon 820 while Oculus Go sits on 821. But, in the case of Go, the processor would entirely be devoted to its apps and videos fueled by the dynamic clock scaling to enhance the frames per second and performance. The said feature is only present in the Galaxy S8 and above, notes TechRadar.