Starting in October 2020, Oculus users playing for the first time will be required to sign in with a Facebook account in order to set up an Oculus account, and Twitter is not happy about it. Existing users will only be able to play with full functionality for two more years if they opt not to merge their Oculus and Facebook accounts.
In an Oculus blog published today, it was announced that starting this October, all new Oculus users will be required to sign in with a Facebook account, so those who do not use Facebook will have no choice but to set an account up. Long-time users of Oculus VR can continue to use their devices indefinitely, but come January 2023 when Oculus account support ends, if players haven’t merged their Oculus and Facebook accounts, they will lose the full range of functionality with their products and will be unable to play a number of games. All future Oculus devices will require a Facebook account to be used.
Oculus, owned by Facebook, claims to be making this change due to the fact that the majority of Oculus users are already signing in with their Facebook accounts. Is this a fair reason to make the change? As evident by the community response on Twitter, it very clearly is not. With the numerous controversies surround privacy on Facebook over recent years, it’s no surprise that many people are threatening to boycott the company in favor of other VR products.
The addition of forcing players to sign in via Facebook will make it easier for players to find, connect, and play with friends in VR. It will allow Facebook’s social experience systems, such as livestreaming gameplay to Facebook, calling friends, posting to Facebook under your VR username, and countless other features that have long been available for those who choose to use them. Oculus devices are gaming devices, similar to how the Xbox One is a gaming device. When the Xbox One was originally marketed as the “all-in-one” entertainment but put a high focus on the ability to watch television, it was met with heavy disapproval as gamers wanted the console for gaming and didn’t want to hear about the television aspect. Oculus is taking this idea a step further by forcing the social media aspect onto players who just want to use their gaming device for gaming.
Per their blog, Oculus will use players’ Facebook activity (photos, comments, shares, etc.) to improve your experience and provide personalized ads and game/app recommendations across Facebook products. Improved Facebook experience is of course not what people are purchasing Oculus products for, but it’s now what players can come to expect.
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