Oculus Event Pushes Quest and Breaks Popular Game

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While VR may be a more niche market, that doesn’t mean the technology is dying off. Oculus Connect ended a few weeks ago and brought with it a few really cool improvements to the Quest, but also updated the Terms of Service, not in a good way for Beat Saber custom songs.

For anyone who is not in the VR market, Oculus Connect was last month’s event that announced the company’s plans for updates and products though next year. It was heavily weighted towards what seems like their main product; The Quest. It is a headset that is fully self-contained and one of the first to do so.

A very interesting announcement from oculus was Facebook Horizon. It looks to be a sandbox universe where people can create their own avatars and their own worlds. 

It will launch as closed beta early next year. 

Techcrunch referred to Facebook as “building its own Ready Player One Oasis.”

“Four months after release, the Rift S is looking pretty irrelevant,” says Techcrunch after the announcement of Oculus link.  It promises to allow the Quest to attach to a computer for PCVR and many games will support cross buy to be used on the Quest and the PC.
This will allow for the Quest to remain as a mobile and stand-alone headset while also being capable of the more advanced PC powered virtual reality. 

Zuckerberg himself even stated, “Your Quest is basically a Rift now, too,” leaving people wondering what the purpose of the Rift S will be after Link releases. 

It cannot be the specs, as The Verge states, “It’s got a lower resolution screen and a barely higher refresh rate than the Quest.” 

The Quest will also be gaining some of the experiences from the phone-powered Oculus go, further rendering other headsets obsolete.  Land’s End and more than 60 other games will be moving over.

This further pushes what the Verge interprets Facebook’s message this year to be, that message being “there’s only one headset that matters for consumers, and it’s the Quest.”

In addition to the upgrades, Quest will continue to increase its own game library with new games like the Oculus exclusive Vader Immortal Episode II already out.

Most exciting of the new upgrades is hand tracking. Oculus is starting to consider removing the need for a Touch Controller by using the pre-existing room tracking cameras on the quest for hand tracking as well. 

The feature will allow for the headset to see the players’ hands, allowing for the player to interact with the virtual world with just their bare hands. 

The feature will not come to Rift S and launches next year. Now they just need some sort of haptic glove to feel what the hands are doing.

The issue with hands only is that there’s no haptic feedback. Having the feeling of holding something is a big part of the immersion. 

Senior at KTH Aaron Wood says, “I would probably use the controller more because I like the feeling of holding something.” 

It is certainly a step in the right direction. 

Wood adds, “I’d say it is an upgrade as long as it is optional because people would have different feelings on it.”

The most controversial thing Oculus did was to update the terms of service. It added a section called the “Oculus Platform Abuse Policy” and it allows them to send warnings, “Suspend, terminate or ban your Oculus user account,” “Refer you to law enforcement” and a few other punishments.

Oculus specifies that violating the guidelines includes “content that appears to be infringing, copied, or pirated” and “infringe on third party’s intellectual property rights” amongst other things in the new policy.

Beat Saber is a very popular rhythmic game where players slash blocks to the tune of included music using glowing sticks. The game includes some DLC packs of music from popular artists such as Imagine Dragons that can be purchased from the game to add a wider range of music. 

After its release the game took off and became a must have for all VR headsets. 

Part of the issue here is that a major reason for its rise in popularity was modding. This was a way of adding custom songs into the app without Beat Games’ support. 

The mod took off, and there is a site filled with fan-made songs that can be downloaded for free and sideloaded into the app.

The Quest posed a new issue with mods. Given it wasn’t PC based and ran on Android, UploadVR claimed “we don’t think modding and custom songs will be possible on the quest version.” 

Boy were they wrong. 

After the Quest’s release a new mod BeatOn was released that automated the ability to add custom songs to the Quest rather easily. Modding on the quest became just as popular as the PC.

Which brings us to today. The new additions to the privacy policy allow for modders to be punished and makes it seem like Facebook is becoming worried about the aspect of piracy that results from the mod. Because of this, support from BeatOn was removed and the newest beatsaber update was left modless. That is, until BMBF took on the modding role and re-added moding to Beat Saber.

Mods add a huge variety to the game. 

Dimond Senior River Mayhugh says “I have never used custom songs. I think I would enjoy it more with custom songs.” 

Once the mod is installed the library for the game becomes virtually infinite. Keep in mind that custom songs have no quality control and included songs will provide a higher quality experience. 

The main argument is that are custom songs considered piracy? The main concern for Facebook is the illegal use of copyrighted material in the game.

In 6DOF’s article on the new BMBF mod they claim; “custom levels ≠ equal pircay.” However they provide little evidence to back up their statement. They do “Urge you to at least purchase the songs you download so that you aren’t playing levels featuring songs you do not own.”

Beat Games says that “Bringing that music into the game without a license is wrong,” “We can’t support mods because bringing every new song into the game is illegal. The only way we can bring new music in is through DLC because we need to pay the artists.” 

But should modding actually considered piracy? Dimond librarian Suzanne Metcalfe says, “My interpretation of piracy would be when you take something digital that someone else created without compensating that person for it.” 

It gets to be a gray area though, once you consider that when a creator uploads the material, they dictate what the compensation is. 

“In creative commons you can say I’m uploading this and anybody can use this who wants to as long as they give credit to me.” 

The issue with CC is that the pop artists who create the songs are not using a creative commons license and probably expect compensation for their work.

Metcalfe says another issue is that the creator can dictate how the content is used. 

“Did that original artist say that’s okay?” 

Sometimes the artist doesn’t get to decide when they sell to a music label, the label decides. 

It removes the aspect that since modders are not being paid for their levels they Are not in the wrong because the label did not say that modding was allowed. It mainly comes down to if the label said it was okay and on what terms was it okay.

Now to be in the right, the modders would have to get permission from the label to use the song and probably compensate them financially for the song. This is why Beat Games is allowed to make DLC for the game.

Legally, if the original creator finds out their song is “misused” they can send a cease and desist letter which could also be followed or joined by legal action.

There is nothing wrong with buying the song, but when the modder takes and makes a level out of the song, then posts it to the internet without permission from the artist, there’s a potential issue if the music license said they cannot change the song in any way, even though the modder does not make money from the song.

Another issue lies in the fact that it enables the song to be downloaded for free from the Beat Saver site. Even if the creator paid for the song, people can now download that song for free even though it is modded and they can do so with no compensation to the artist.