Facebook wants even more of your data — that’s no surprise, though, they always want your data. This time around, if you’re a VR fan, they’re going to get even more personal information out of you.
The social media conglomerate has confirmed that all new Oculus headsets will require a login from a Facebook account before they can be used. And if you’re already using a separate Oculus account to use existing VR hardware, it just got an expiry date. 1 January 2023, to be precise.
Ad me as a friend
If you’re using older hardware and don’t want to make the jump to Facebook in 2023, that’ll be fine. Your VR gear will continue to work — but some games and services will stop functioning. Oculus says “We will take steps to allow you to keep using content you have purchased, though we expect some games and apps may no longer work.” So you have a choice, but it’s an awful one.
We knew this change was coming for some time, as it happens. The big difference right now is that it’s here. Well, almost here — the changes kick off from October this year. Facebook and Oculus say that the change will “…make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends in VR”, adding that the Facebook requirement will make using an Oculus more like using Facebook. Apparently this is a selling point.
And maybe it is. Oculus is using the new requirement to serve up multiplayer powered by Facebook (to go along with the multiplayer slideshows we all seem to love), as well as offering Horizon, “…where you can explore, play, and create worlds.” But then there’s this:
“[W]hen you log into Oculus using your Facebook account, Facebook will use information related to your use of VR and other Facebook products to provide and improve your experience. This information is also used to show you personalized content, including ads. For example, we might show you recommendations for Oculus Events you might like, ads about Facebook apps and technologies, or ads from developers for their VR apps.”
Coming (very) soon
To be fair to Facebook and Oculus, they’re being very upfront about all of this. There are benefits — and Facebook obviously thinks they’re worth the tradeoff — but Facebook’s also going to be gathering data on how you use its VR systems to
complete its digital profile of you so you can eventually be replaced by a realistic ‘bot of the type they used to make Mark Zuckerberg serve you ads and develop new services based on the majority of user preferences. But they’re being upfront about it, which is a nice change. And you can maintain a separate VR account but that’s not going to stop the data-gathering. Just the overly Facebook-centred stuff.
Since the changeover takes place in October and Facebook’s apparently got a new version of the Oculus Quest on the way, we’re guessing that it launches in October this year. It’s also likely the first device that’ll force users to login with a Facebook account before letting you do your own thing — while still sending even more information to the social media behemoth.