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As Oculus becomes increasingly merged with parent company Facebook, new users will soon be required to sign into their headset with a Facebook account. Existing users will be able to use their separate Oculus accounts until the end of 2022, after which “full functionality will require a Facebook account.” Facebook says the changes are being made to make it easier for users to find and play with friends in VR and to enhance moderation.
While a Facebook account is already required for some core social functionality on Oculus headsets—like cross-game messaging and voice-chat—Facebook today announced upcoming changes which require new users to use a Facebook account with their headset.
Facebook says that starting in October “everyone using an Oculus device for the first time will need to log in with a Facebook account.” Existing users will be given the option to log in with their Facebook account and permanently merge their Oculus account with it.
Further, the company says that existing users who opt not to merge their Oculus account with their Facebook account can continue using their headset as normal until the end of 2022, after which the company no longer guarantees “full functionality” without the use of a Facebook account.
“We will take steps to allow you to keep using [Oculus] content you have purchased [after 2022], though we expect some games and apps may no longer work,” the company says. “This could be because they include features that require a Facebook account or because a developer has chosen to no longer support the app or game you purchased.”
The company says that even when logged into their headset with a Facebook account, users will be able to maintain a unique VR profile, including a separate username and friends list, if desired. Facebook also plans to introduce a way for multiple users of a single headset to sign into their own accounts to keep things separate.
As it already does today, the company affirms that it will track how Facebook users use their headset and use that information for various purposes.
“Facebook will use information related to your use of VR and other Facebook products to provide and improve your experience. This information is also used to show you personalized content, including ads. For example, we might show you recommendations for Oculus Events you might like, ads about Facebook apps and technologies, or ads from developers for their VR apps.”
Users cannot opt out of sharing VR usage activity with Facebook.
“Even if you don’t log into your Oculus device using your Facebook account, we will use your VR information to create a consistent and safer experience across Facebook apps and technologies—for example, taking action on an Oculus account if it is flagged for spam or abuse,” the company says.
While the company says that it doesn’t currently display ads inside of Oculus headsets, it doesn’t rule out the possibility for the future.
The changes come ahead of the launch of Facebook’s long-awaited social VR application, Facebook Horizon, expected later this year, and rumors of a new headset.
The company says the changes are designed to streamline social functions of Oculus headsets and strengthen moderation tools by leveraging Facebook’s social graph.
“Giving people a single way to log into Oculus—using their Facebook account and password—will make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends in VR. We know that social VR has so much more to offer, and this change will make it possible to integrate many of the features people know and love on Facebook,” the company says. “It will also allow us to introduce more Facebook powered multiplayer and social experiences coming soon in VR, like Horizon, where you can explore, play, and create worlds.
As part of the upcoming changes, Facebook says its Oculus products will shift from the existing Oculus Code of Conduct and instead adopt the Facebook Community Standards in addition to an “additional VR-focused policy.”
“This will allow us to continue to take the unique considerations of VR into account while offering a more consistent way to report bad behavior, hold people accountable, and help create a more welcoming environment across our platforms. And as Facebook adds new privacy and safety tools, Oculus can adopt and benefit from them too.”
The company published an FAQ about merging Oculus accounts into Facebook accounts here.
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