Oculus randomly hit an error today that is spread across the platform, disabling units gamers have spent hundreds of dollars on to enjoy. While it's stark reminder of technology's ability to fail, it's also more impactful than the company is letting on.
Oculus has hit a certification error that has crippled the entire platform today. The error acts as a kill switch that is supposed to certify official updates from Oculus from fake ones, and simply disable anything that doesn’t match up. The certification obviously wasn’t lining up and had an “expiration date” listed, which has now lapsed and caused ALL units (not just "some" as the company has been trying to downplay it) to be completely inoperable.
On the development side things are going badly too. Several developers have gone to Twitter to exclaim how they were in meetings discussing their latest games when the error occurred, and nothing could be done to fix it. Developers are also unable to test or work with their games anymore due to the error, with production on some titles grinding to a complete halt until Oculus fixes the issue.
The fix is simple, yet complicated. On the simple side, the Oculus team simply needs to update the certification. On the complicated side, pushing said update to the users will be hard considering nobody can access the app or the updates due to the error. Oculus will either have to re-release and rebuild their app, forcing users to download a separate update and manually install it, or find a way to work with Microsoft to allow users a temporary pass on the certification to allow the app to update. Either way, this fix is not going to be easy and so far there hasn’t been anything from the team late in the evening to fix it.
Let us use this as a remind that technology can fail and what is it that we are left with? Oculus is a huge platform in a rather heated race in VR so this mistake is massive for them and the industry as a whole. A simple error completely disables an entire device and removes all of your games. This is a fear many people have with digital platforms quickly erasing the need for physical games. A simple line of code and your entire library is gone. It’s a scary situation for both the use and the companies involved.