Oculus, one of the biggest names in VR, has announced some troubling changes coming to its platform over the next few years involving its parent company Facebook.
The big changes are happening in two phases – from October 2020, and from January 2023. From the announcement Oculus informs its users that:
Starting in October 2020:
- “Everyone using an Oculus device for the first time will need to log in with a Facebook account.
- If you are an existing user and already have an Oculus account, you will have the option to log in with Facebook and merge your Oculus and Facebook accounts.
- If you are an existing user and choose not to merge your accounts, you can continue using your Oculus account for two years.
Starting In January 2023:
- We will end support for Oculus accounts.
- If you choose not to merge your accounts at that time, you can continue using your device, but full functionality will require a Facebook account.
- We will take steps to allow you to keep using content you have purchased, though some games and apps may no longer work. This could be because they require a Facebook account or because a developer has chosen to no longer support the app or game you purchased.”
If you’ve been trying to avoid the social media platform that won’t be an option in the future if you want to continue, or start, using Oculus VR headsets and other hardware. While creating accounts has unfortunately become an accepted part of life in recent years this is a bitter pill to swallow for those who purchased hardware already, especially early adopters who jumped onto the Oculus train before it was purchased by Facebook.
Of course the pair of companies doesn’t see it that way, spinning the big change as a positive way to log into the experience with one account and “introduce more Facebook powered multiplayer”, even if that latter term absolutely terrifies us more than any fictional zombie or horror game you could play in VR.
Like other platforms that use Facebook as a log in method you will not be forced, at least not right now, to go by your real name while in VR. A unique profile can be kept for this purpose and settings can be changed to hide your real name when online. Wow, that really sounds like a lot of extra effort that could have been avoided with two separate accounts.
As you may expect this change has been met with a mostly negative response. Comments on the Oculus website (made through Facebook, ironically) as well as on Twitter have all been acerbic. We won’t repeat these comments as many of them contain foul language and hostility, but we’re sure most people can guess what they contain from that.
Since Facebook absorbed the VR company most fans and users of Oculus have simply tolerated the social media giant sitting quietly in the background. Today seems to be a turning point for all this as people now need to carefully consider the presence of Facebook when deciding on a headset.