August 18, 2020 – Facebook-owned Oculus has today announced updates to how users log into Oculus devices, while still keeping their VR profile. Starting in October 2020:
- Everyone using an Oculus device for the first time will need to log in with a Facebook account;
- Existing users who already have an Oculus account will have the option to log in with Facebook and merge their Oculus and Facebook accounts;
- Existing users that choose not to merge accounts can continue using their Oculus account for two years.
After January 1, 2023, Facebook will end support for Oculus accounts. If users choose not to merge their accounts at that time, they will still be able to continue using their devices, but full functionality will require a Facebook account. The company added that it will take steps to allow users to keep using content that they have purchased, however, it expects that some games and apps may no longer work. This could be because they include features that require a Facebook account or because a developer has chosen to no longer support the app or game.
Finally, all future unreleased Oculus devices will now require a Facebook account, even if users already have an Oculus account.
Facebook claims that giving people a single way to log into Oculus—using a Facebook account and password—will make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends in virtual reality. The company added that the changes will also make it possible to integrate many of Facebook’s social media features, allowing for the introduction of more upcoming Facebook powered VR multiplayer and social experiences, such as Horizon, where users will be able to explore, play, and create worlds.
Facebook’s track record with user data has obviously been a cause for concern for some Oculus users, who have already voiced their mistrust and displeasure at today’s announcement. However, according to the company, the majority of users are already logging into Oculus with a Facebook account anyway, in order to use features such as chats, parties, and events, or to tune into live experiences in Oculus Venues.
Other changes announced today include sharing functionality. Users already have the option to livestream or share their VR experiences on Facebook, and soon they will be able to use their VR avatars on other Facebook apps and technologies.
Users still have the option to create or maintain a unique VR profile, and if they don’t want Oculus contacts to be able to find them by their Facebook name, then visibility settings can be changed to stop this. Facebook also stated that it plans to introduce the ability for multiple users to log into the same device using their own Facebook account, allowing users to share headsets with friends or family while keeping their information separate.
In an Oculus blog post announcing the news, the company wrote: “Using a VR profile that is backed by a Facebook account and authentic identity helps us protect our community and makes it possible to offer additional integrity tools. For example, instead of having a separate Oculus Code of Conduct, we will adopt Facebook’s Community Standards as well as a new additional VR-focused policy. This will allow us to continue to take the unique considerations of VR into account while offering a more consistent way to report bad behavior, hold people accountable, and help create a more welcoming environment across our platforms. And as Facebook adds new privacy and safety tools, Oculus can adopt and benefit from them too.”
Currently, when users log into Oculus using a Facebook account, Facebook will use information related to a person’s use of VR and other Facebook products to provide and improve the experience. This information is also used to show personalized content, including ads. Monetization of the Oculus platform’s VR play-space was bound to happen at some point though, with Facebook at the helm.
For more information on the changes, and a full FAQ, please visit the Oculus website.
Image credit: Oculus