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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  • Carmen00 - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Facebook has the unfortunate habit of acquiring, making non-legally-binding promises to founders/owners, and then breaking those a while later. We can see that in the cases of WhatsApp and Oculus, among others. This is unnecessary - for example, we don't see Microsoft doing that to Minecraft accounts - and it's very unpleasant, as a consumer, to see it happen. The pattern makes it clear that once Facebook acquires, it's time to get out of that equipment unless you're happy to eventually go all-in on Facebook.
  • MetalmanExe - Thursday, August 20, 2020 - link

    i can't speak for other systems, but the switch does require you to have a microsoft account for minecraft.
    Facebooks decision is still sh*t though
  • lmcd - Friday, August 21, 2020 - link

    There's two editions of Minecraft. The classic Java version afaik is the only one the promise was about.
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Gross. No sale for me!
  • Midwayman - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Perfect example of why I bought everything VR on steam when possible even if offered through oculus.
  • alufan - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    never have had and never will have a Facebook account think its the saddest and most idiotic thing ever to even want one and let the red haired devil get his fingers into my life I dont even use whatsapp
  • Krysto - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Facebook: We'll socialize the hell out of people until morale improves!
  • meacupla - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    This is a death sentence for oculus
  • uefi - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Is "socialization" the tech journalism way to say datamined?
  • abufrejoval - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    I am not sure I understand why they are doing this: Do they actually expect to gain more than emnity?

    Of course I understand why they'd want everyone on Facebook, but I don't know why they are choosing force, when it only increases the attack surface from societies with saner leadership than the US.

    Not that I dislike Trump's decision for TikTok and others to hand over US operations to a domestic company, because it is actually logical and now will mean that whatever Facebook US is announcing with regards to Oculus, won't mean a thing to Facebook Germany that they had to sell to Bertelsmann next year.

    These 'innovative' exa-companies need to be broken up into mini-Bells, the client devices made independent from the platforms, the content creation from both and then everything at cultural and legal divides, because the idea that clouds should have distinct rules clearly clashes with sovereignty of both individuals and nations or collectives.

    I crowdfunded the DK1, bought DK2, got a CV1 for free and bought another CV1 for my kids: All of my commercial transactions were not with Facebook, which is blocked by my IDS.

    I am not chattel to be bought and strip mined for data by anyone unless I agree and get paid for it. I don't buy games from the Oculus store, because I prefer Steam as a platform. I believe I have a legal right not to have my devices disabled by Facebook and hopefully by 2023 there will just be headsets so much better and cheaper that I don't mind throwing Oculus away.

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