Facebook acquired Oculus back in 2014 in a $2bn cash and stocks deal. The move wasn't warmly received by HEXUS readers who were/are VR enthusiasts. Even back in 2014, before the Cambridge Analytica weaponised data scandal, Facebook had a reputation for selling personal data and so on. In 2020 many have already followed the recurring #DeleteFacebook trends, and dumped the social network.
A few hours ago Oculus made an announcement that it had some important updates to how people log into Oculus devices. The company seemed to half heartedly try and spin this as a positive account merging story while knowing it would be frowned upon by its VR-base. In the first paragraph of the press release, after the intro and bullet points, Oculus mostly tackles anticipated complaints and confusion from users. Most of the blog post content is from this angle.
In the second paragraph Oculus cheers the benefit of "Giving people a single way to log into Oculus—using their Facebook account and password— will make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends in VR". It asserts that 'social VR' is going to be a growth area as it offers "so much more" and it will make possible the integration of "many of the features people know and love on Facebook".
So, what are the practicalities of this planned account merger? It depends whether you already have an Oculus account or not. The official bullet points regarding the change are as follows:
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.
All future unreleased Oculus devices will require a Facebook account. Additionally, the Oculus Code of Conduct will be replaced by the Facebook Community Standards, as well as a new additional VR-focused policy. After the merge, new Facebook privacy and safety tools will come to Oculus users straight away. You will be able to choose what information about your VR activity you post to your Facebook profile or timeline. Another option is to keep your Facebook and VR friends separate, even after you have merged accounts.
If you are interested in the Oculus community reactions to this account merger news it is worth a peek at the Oculus announcement post on Twitter.