Meta (formerly Facebook) caused quite a stir in the VR industry when it announced last year that it planned to require the Facebook accountology for new users. The move did not go well in the VR area or among critics in general. This week, the company said it plans to roll out a non-Facebook option to log on to its headsets from next year.
Last year, Meta announced that new users who sign in to their VR headsets would be required to use a Facebook account starting later that year, while existing users would be required to use a 2023 Facebook account to maintain the full functionality of their headset.
Between being called out for having previously promised does not to require a Facebook login, get in hot water with German regulators and a persistent undercurrent of contempt among some customers and potential customers, the move did not go so well.
The company appears to have finally appreciated the negative sentiment generated by the Facebook account claim, and this week it announced plans to reverse the course.
During the Facebook Connect keynote, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he understood the negative feedback and confirmed the company’s plans to offer other options.
[…] which we have focused more on [productivity in VR], and frankly, since we’ve heard your feedback more widely, we’re working to make it possible for you to sign in to Quest with a different account than your personal Facebook account. We will soon start testing support for work accounts, and we are working on making a broader shift [away from the Facebook account requirement] within the next year. I know this is a big deal for a lot of people. Not everyone wants their social media profile linked to all these other experiences, and I understand that. Especially when the meta-verse expands.
In a Facebook post about the company’s rebrand to Meta, VP for XR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth mirrored the same sentiment.
“As we have focused more on the work, and as we have heard feedback from the VR community more broadly, we are working on new ways to log in to Quest that do not require a Facebook account, and will land sometime next year. This is one of our highest priority areas of work internally. ”
For those who have already merged their Facebook and Oculus accounts, Meta indicates that you will not be assimilated for long. Contributing VR reporter Ian Hamilton asked on Twitter, “I’m still a little confused here, will I be able to remove the link to my Facebook account and delete it and keep and use my purchased VR content with Quest 2?” to which Bosworth simply replied, “Yes.”
So far, there are no details on what the alternative account scheme will be, although a potential way would be to create a separate ‘Meta Account’ that is not aware of the user’s Facebook account while leaving it to the user to decide whether they will link two. We have to wait and see.