Oculus' failure to renew expired certificate bricks Oculus Rift headsets

News by Jay Jay

Users of Oculus Rift VR headsets were left fuming for almost a day after the firm failed to notice that one of its certificates had expired, thereby cutting off all Rift headsets from the Runtime Service.

Oculus did issue a patch almost twenty-four hours after the certificate expired, but it didn't stop consumers from all over the world giving the company a piece of their mind. Not surprisingly, the company spent the day firefighting on social platforms, issuing periodic updates on how long it would take to release a patch, and ultimately admitting its "mistake" once the fix was ready.

"We are aware of and actively investigating an issue impacting ability to access Rift software. Our teams apologise for any inconvenience this may be causing you and appreciate your patience while we work on a resolution," the firm announced on the Oculus VR forum after consumer started complaining about their devices getting bricked.

First released in March 2016, the consumer version of Oculus Rift primarily serves as a virtual reality gaming platform, offering users a high-resolution display with a wide field of view, integrated headphones with real-time 3D audio effects, and full six degree of freedom rotational and positional tracking. The Rift now supports several popular games like Project CARS, Elite: Dangerous, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Dirt Rally, Minecraft and Flight Simulator X, attracting gamers from all over the world.      
The fact that a company like Oculus, which brings in frequent performance updates for its devices and owns some of the finest next-generation VR technologies, failed to patch a certificate really let users down. Renewing certificates is a simple process for firms that track and manage certificates centrally, and Oculus' failure suggests that it didn't pay much attention to the issue.

While a quick patch would have alleviated consumers' concerns, the fact that Oculus prolonged the patching timeline didn't really excite many fans. Even though a patch is now available, some VR fans decided to air their thoughts about the whole fiasco on the VR forum.

"This issue could've been resolved hours ago. PLEASE make 24/7 customer service if you're gonna be a GLOBAL company!!!!!!," wrote a user.

"Its a joke oculus really need to get a better means of ppl customer service  as submitting a ticket takes for ever to even get a reply like everyone else ive been going made even to the point of asking for a full refund of my £750 pound i paid the day before the price drop.

"Thanks for telling us so late in the day it would had been so much nicer for us all if you wrote it as soon as the problem had been reported but hopefully oculus had noticed long before the first complaint. Could i suggest oculus invests in something like discord for a means of support . Or even live chat. Silly me for thinking that lol," added another.

"FFS, this is so idiotic, I just reinstalled my Oculus and found this post.... OMG, I really find the service, the feedback and support are just so shite comparing with HTC Vive, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!! so bad!" vented out a third user.

Commenting on Oculus' handling of the certification issue, Craig Stewart, vice president EMEA for Venafi, told SC Magazine UK how Oculus managed to make headlines around the world because of an eminently solvable problem, while also adding that Oculus isn't alone as far as mismanaging certificate updates is concerned.

"If all certificates were tracked and managed centrally, this issue would never have occurred in the first place. Instead their flagship device is now unusable and thousands of angry customers are commenting on their failure to foresee and address this glitch.   

"However, Oculus are far from alone in experiencing these difficulties – the average business has around 17,000 undiscovered or forgotten certificates in their environment and occasionally one will be as important as this. Far too many businesses are still managing their certificates manually, using Excel spreadsheet instead of automated systems and until they make the switch over, we'll just see these reputational crises continue," he said.

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