New Oculus users will need a Facebook account in order to access their VR headsets, starting this October - and existing users will have until 2023 to make the mandatory switch if they require "full functionality" of their device.
According to a blog post shared by Oculus earlier today, anyone using an Oculus device for the first time from October this year will need to log in with a Facebook account. Things are a little different for existing users, however.
From October, those that currently use an Oculus account will have the option to merge it with a Facebook account. Those that remain determined to avoid Facebook and its dubious privacy practices as far as possible, though, will be able to continue using their device as they do now, without merging their accounts, for two years.
Come 1st January 2023, however, Oculus account support will end, limiting the device's functionality for non-migratory users in currently unspecified ways.
Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, claims this move to a single account log-in will - alongside numerous other supposed social benefits - "make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends in VR". However, the less-than-stellar immediate response to the announcement by Oculus users on social media suggests many view it as nothing more than a nefarious attempt by Facebook to hoover more individuals up into its data-siphoning ecosystem.
Facebook, for its part, says it will use the information it collects from users relating to the use of Oculus and Facebook for "providing and improving your experience across Facebook products", to promote "safety and integrity on our services", and to show "personalised content, including ads, across Facebook products."
As for the exact Oculus functionality users unwilling to merge their accounts will have access to in 2023, that's still a little unclear. Facebook says it will "take steps to allow you to keep using content you have purchased", but that some games and apps may no longer work if they require a Facebook account or if a developer no longer offers support.
UploadVR sought to shed some additional light on the matter, asking Facebook whether users will still be able to use their Oculus headsets with Steam VR from 2023, to which Facebook replied, "Sideloading apps will still be possible after January 1, 2023 - whether you are using a PC VR headset or Oculus Quest using Oculus Link - so long as it is done in accordance with our developer policies, including our Platform Abuse Policy".
The company says it will "have more to share about the steps we will be taking to allow people to keep using content they have purchased if they choose not to log in with a Facebook account" as 2023 draws nearer.