Following in the footsteps of Apple and Google locking down their respective app stores, Oculus is finally taking the fear we all had when Facebook bought it and making it a reality. This October, the company will start ending support for Oculus accounts and replacing them with Facebook accounts.
Today, we’re announcing some important updates to how people 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. // https://t.co/SMeDOXgehNAugust 18, 2020
In a post (opens in new tab) on its website today, Oculus announced that starting this October, new Oculus users will have to log into their Oculus HMDs with a Facebook account.
Those with an existing Oculus accounts have two years to merge it with a Facebook account. Beginning in 2023, Oculus will completely end support for Oculus accounts. At that point, if you don’t merge your account with a Facebook account, Oculus can’t promise full functionality for your device.
“We will take steps to allow you to keep using the content you have purchased,” the company said of users who don’t merge accounts, “though we expect some games and apps may no longer work.”
Oculus explained that this might be because of features that will be shifted to requiring a Facebook account or because of developers choosing to no longer support an app or game.
The company claims that the change is due to the ease-of-use presented by a single log-in, as well as upcoming Social VR features, like Facebook Horizon (opens in new tab). Still, it’s unclear why support for Oculus accounts needs to end to make these features accessible for Facebook users.
Oculus noted that you can still maintain a separate VR profile even after merging accounts. You just need to ensure that your Facebook profile is set to only be visible to yourself after merging it with your Oculus account. Then, your Oculus friends won’t be able to find you by your Facebook name.
These privacy features are supposed works both ways, too. After you merge your accounts, you'll be able to use special settings to control how much of your VR activity shows up on your Facebook timeline, Oculus said.
If you’re like me, then your Facebook account sits mostly abandoned except for the occasional moment when someone needs to plan an event. If you’re like my editor, then you don’t even have a Facebook account. Whether this change stems from Facebook trying to use Oculus to revitalize its platform, or Oculus failing to stand on its own without the platform, we do not know. Regardless, it does point to a new and unfortunate deterrent to some of the best VR headsets on the market.