Beginning in October 2020, new Oculus users will be required to log in with a Facebook account. Oculus also announced that it would end support for its stand-alone accounts after January 1, 2023.
Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 to the tune of $2 billion. Since then, Oculus has pretty much maintained its separate identity. Things, however, are going to change soon as Facebook begins phasing out Oculus accounts.
First-time VR headset users will need to sign up through Facebook starting October. Oculus said that users who already have an Oculus account could choose to merge the two accounts. They may opt not to merge their accounts, though. However, they will have two years to continue using their Oculus 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/SMeDOXgehN — Oculus (@oculus) August 18, 2020
Support for Oculus account ends after January 1, 2023
Oculus stand-alone accounts will soon sunset, the announcement said. Oculus users will have until early 2023 to unify their accounts. Users with an existing account who chose not to merge can still use their content. However, some games and apps may no longer work.
All future releases of Oculus devices will require a Facebook account to log in. This is regardless if a user already has an existing Oculus account or not. Once logged in using a Facebook account, users can either create or maintain their unique VR profile. There is also an "Only Me" option in the settings, which will make the user unsearchable by his Facebook name.
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If you’re an existing user and already have an Oculus account, you’ll have the option to log in with Facebook and merge your Oculus and Facebook accounts. If you’re an existing user and choose not to merge your accounts, you can continue using your Oculus account for two years. — Oculus (@oculus) August 18, 2020
Moreover, Oculus users will now have the ability to choose what VR will be seen on their timeline. Oculus is also planning to introduce a multiple-user log in option. This option will allow users to share the same device. Each user will just need to log in using their own Facebook account.
After January 1, 2023, we will end support for Oculus accounts. If you choose not to merge your accounts at that time, you can continue using your device, but full functionality will require a Facebook account. — Oculus (@oculus) August 18, 2020
Why are these changes happening to Oculus accounts?
Oculus explained that using a Facebook account will provide users a single way to log into their Oculus devices. Likewise, the new policy will make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends. In addition, the policy change will allow the integration of features such as Horizon. Facebook announced this social Virtual Reality in 2019.
While not everyone was happy with the announced policy change, some are not surprised. Since acquiring the company six years ago, Facebook has been slowly integrating Oculus into its ecosystem.
Last year, the company added VR social features that would require a Facebook account. The company was said to have then used the data gathered via Oculus in ads. A practice many have criticized.