With so much talk about the next generation of gaming coming in the next two months, it can come off as a shock to remember how we have the console, PC, and mobile gaming, there is also Virtual Reality. On a personal note, I recently became a proud owner of the Oculus Quest and while it does take some getting used to, there’s no denying games like Beat Saber and Super Hot is a delight to play. But there was a concern that did come with this brand new piece of hardware. One was how just as I got an Oculus Quest, there was an announcement for the Oculus Quest 2 (oops). The other was something which wasn’t taken into account until just last month.
It involves a deal done between Oculus and Facebook and how in order to access the Oculus’s social features, it will require a Facebook account. This might sound shocking at first to hear, but when you take into consideration how Facebook bought out Oculus back in 2014, it was only a matter of time.
The Upcoming VR Social Plan
For those who might not know this, here’s a quick rundown.
Starting in October: If you are someone who is going to get themselves a brand new Oculus headset, it will require you to log in with a Facebook account. If you already have an Oculus account, you will have the option to merge your Oculus account with your Facebook account. Otherwise, if you want to hold out and merge it, you can still use the Oculus account for two years.
After January 1, 2023, support for Oculus Accounts will come to an end and if you have not put your accounts together by then, it will require a Facebook account. You can still use the device, but you will need a Facebook log-in to access the full functionality.
What does it mean for the future of Oculus?
The idea here is by connecting your Oculus with your Facebook account, you will have an easier time not only play with friends on VR, but to also find and connect with them. That sounds all fine and good, right up until you get to the part of the data collection.
For the uninitiated, the joys of social media are well known of how “Depending on what you’re looking at, that can magically turn up to try and help to sell you something.” Are you a person who wants to do writing? Look through your Facebook wall and watch as ads with “How to become a better writer,” or “Here is this amazing writing software program you have to try!” pops up.
You might not think this could be too imperative in the world of virtual reality, but you would be wrong with what it will try and pull. Are you someone who is looking to get fit? You can actually get a notice of this “brand new VR workout program!” you can sign up for right now.
It’s almost eerie how fast this can pop up as someone who just got a new Oculus Quest…
Should this be a concern?
Going back to the post from Oculus, the information in which they collect does range to a wide variety of purposes. From “improving your experience” to “promoting safety and integrity” takes the top marks of their list. But then you also have the means to which you do get the aforementioned “Personalized content & ads” across Facebook products. In a way, the collection of information is something in which they want to use to not only “experience new apps” but to also connect to others with similar interests. Things like chats, live streaming, party organization, and so forth.
The last thing to take into account above all else is how “free” you want to make yourself. You might be someone who probably could care less about whatever you do online and just do it. Others though do prefer to have some kind of secrecy to themselves and wouldn’t want their information out in the open; especially if you connect it to Facebook of all things.
Perhaps this was what Facebook saw back in 2014 when they got Oculus onboard. To work on perfecting the world of Virtual Reality and to set it up to where experiences to could tailor-made just for you. This might sound good on paper, but considering the amount of recent Facebook controversies in recent times and no way to opt-out of information tracking, it is understandable why not many people are too keen about recent developments.
In the end, we have to keep in mind that with the next generation of gaming just two months out, the world of technology is ever-evolving. One could make an easy argument of how we are connected now more than ever than we were ten years ago. Not just how games look better, load faster, and so forth, but how we communicate with each other too. Communications in which that can turn around and be sold to us back to increase those juicy profits.
In the end, all we can do is remind ourselves of the world we live in and how we need to be aware of what is happening around us. As fun as it would be to think of your VR headset trying to sell you on something, it is a future that isn’t exactly within full reach yet. After all, it’s one thing to question how many people can afford a next-gen console; but another thing entirely to question who has a VR headset (let alone an interest in getting one).
Just like in all things related to Social Media, just be careful where you tread. The last thing you want is Facebook to learn every small detail about you through the lens of the headset. It can benefit some, but difficult to say if it won’t try to manipulate more.
What do you think?
Did you have an interest in picking up the Oculus Quest 2? Do you have concerns about linking your Facebook account to it? And what does the future hold for Virtual Reality?
As much as I would love to tell you guys that my life isn’t an open book, I know my information is something that’s sadly out in the open. Still, even if it wasn’t, I can’t say there is a big concern about this move from Facebook or at least not as of yet. If they can help to propel the future of Virtual Reality to something bigger than it is right now, then let them toss money into improving it for all to enjoy. Otherwise, just be careful and know that big brother is always watching and has no problem trying to earn a few extra dollars out of you.
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