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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  • bleh111 - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Number of Oculus headsets that will be purchased by me: 0
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Bullets, say hi to foot.
  • Reflex - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Lots of alternatives.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, August 20, 2020 - link

    Google did the same thing with YouTube. Microsoft did the same thing with Hotmail. All of these acquisitions by data-farming, privacy-invading, corporations of smaller fish companies result in equally revolting walks down the same path to the festering pool of malfeasance in which customers are expected to gratefully bathe themselves. It's just some companies (Google and Facebook in particular) are much more revolting than others due to how they depend on the exploitation of their users to survive.
  • Jake13942 - Saturday, August 22, 2020 - link

    Facebook is apparently oblivious to pro usages of a VR headset that *ahem* require privacy. Even Chrome has an incognito mode ffs.
  • pqjjxkpq - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    in true DARPA fashion. never change, lifelog.
  • nagi603 - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Not surprising, also finally we can tell people "told you so".
  • sorten - Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - link

    Exactly. Only surprise is how long it took.
  • nico_mach - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    It's kind of surprising to me! I thought Facebook was doing ok? How desperate are they that they have to tie VR headsets, of all things, to Facebook logins? How bad are things over there, right now?

    They're infamous for falsifying ad numbers (they get caught and have to correct themselves virtually every year remember autoplay videos fiasco?), I wonder if things have gotten so much worse lately? Are twitter and reddit so much more popular now or what?
  • mrvco - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    They're circling the wagons as tightly as possible to make any sort of anti-trust / regulatory break-up virtually impossible.

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