Signaling the end to any remaining degrees of separation between Facebook and its VR headset division, Oculus, today the social media company announced that it will be further integrating the two services. Coming this fall, the company will begin sunsetting stand-alone Oculus accounts as part of an effort to transition the entire Oculus ecosystem over to Facebook. This will start in October, when all new Oculus accounts and devices will have to sign up for a Facebook account, while support for existing stand-alone accounts will be retired entirely at the start of 2023.

Originally an acquisition for Facebook, the Oculus Rift and underlying Oculus software ecosystem were initially developed by the then-independent Oculus VR group. After acquiring the company for $2 Billion back in 2014, Facebook has for the last several years largely treated Oculus as a stand-alone entity, selling products under the Oculus brand and leaving Facebook integration an optional feature – a feature co-founder Palmer Luckey even guaranteed during the 2014 acquisition.

None the less, Oculus’s days as a stand-alone ecosystem are now coming to a close, as Facebook has laid out their plans to transition Oculus users over to Facebook accounts, and the significant social media repercussions that entails.

According to Facebook, winding-down Oculus accounts will be a two-part process for the company. Starting in October, all new accounts will need to be Facebook accounts – or more specifically, users will need a Facebook account to log into the Oculus ecosystem. Meanwhile current stand-alone Oculus account holders will be grandfathered in for a time on their existing devices, however any future unreleased devices, even when paired with an existing Oculus account, will still require a Facebook login.

Facebook will then maintain support for grandfathered accounts through the start of 2023. At that point the company will officially drop support for stand-alone Oculus accounts, and while the company is not threatening to immediately disconnect or disable non-Facebook users, “full functionality will require a Facebook account.” In particular:

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.

Ultimately, for Facebook this marks the final step of the Oculus acquisition, more fully integrating the company and its systems into the larger Facebook ecosystem. Facebook’s primary strength as a service provider to end-users remains its social offerings, so the company cannot fully exploit those strengths so long as Oculus users remain outside the Facebook ecosystem. At the same time, this will also give the revenue-generating side of Facebook significantly more access to information about Oculus users, which the company will then be able to use to use for targeted advertising, usage tracking, and other purposes.

Source: Facebook

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  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    I totally agree. Reply
  • EliteRetard - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    I'll need to make sure all my friends and family sell their devices now.
    I have no problem helping them select and setup a different VR device.

    I rarely tolerate forced accounts, and Facebook is an absolute no.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    ...Knows one person with a VR device. Reply
  • TheyCallMeDanger - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Well now you know two! :) Reply
  • pdf - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Congratulations Facebook, you just made future purchases very simple - anything but Occulus. Reply
  • MrVibrato - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Ahem... en.wikipedia.org / wiki / Occulus Reply
  • SantaAna12 - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Oculus taken off shopping list. Reason: no 3.5mm headphone jack. Uh......no....Facebook arrogance? Yeah. Thats it. Reply
  • rocky12345 - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Seems like a conflict of interest since both are owned by same people and requiring a FB account just to use the hardware you purchased seems a bit messed up. Also why would I want anyone on FB to know what VR games I am playing? If I want them to know I will post that information on FB myself. I guess getting the cash for the hardware is not enough for them as they seem to want to make money from advertising on you VR equipment as well.

    On the other hand I can see a few benefits for this kinda like with having a MS account for your Xbox hardware. My take is if they want to force having some sort of account then make it something completely different from FB with no connection to it unless we choose to have both accounts linked to each other. I am sure there will be those that have some fancy words of disagreement with me but hey this is just my own opinion on this topic.
    Reply
  • GreenReaper - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    It's the opposite of a conflict of interest; if Facebook owns Oculus, its interests are Oculus' interests.

    Whether it is in Oculus' customers' interests is largely irrelevant.
    Reply
  • soresu - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    A conflict of interest?

    This is precisely why they bought Oculus in the first place - for VR social networking, not gaming.

    Gaming is just the appetizer and the initial market grower for Facebook.

    Anyone who did not expect this outcome is an idiot - Facebook are not Valve, they are not and never were a games company.
    Reply

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