Meta has announced that starting August 2022, its Quest VR headsets will no longer require users to log in with a Facebook account, with a Meta account becoming mandatory instead. Back in 2021, the company announced that the Facebook account requirement would eventually be dropped for Quest headsets. Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014, but earlier this year, rebranded the Oculus Quest 2 to Meta Quest 2 instead.
In 2020, Oculus announced that any new users would need to log in with a Facebook account. Existing Oculus users had the option to continue using their accounts for two years or merge their Oculus accounts with a Facebook account. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t well-received as several folks who had previously considered picking up a Quest VR headset called it a dealbreaker while existing users vowed to switch to other brands of VR headsets when it was time to upgrade.
In an official press release, Meta has now revealed that a Meta account will be the new way to log in to any of its VR devices. Starting August 2022, those who have already merged their Oculus account with their Facebook account will need to create a Meta account. This can be likened to a PlayStation Network account that users need to access the online store, purchase digital games, and play online games. Those who have been logging into their VR device with an Oculus account can continue to do so until January 1, 2023. By removing the need for Facebook accounts and replacing it with Meta accounts, those who have put off purchasing a Quest VR headset due to the Facebook account requirement might now be interested in picking one up.
In addition to a Meta account, users will also have to create a Meta Horizon Profile. Still using the PlayStation Network analogy, think of this as a PlayStation Network ID but with more features. Rather than just a username to share with friends, this is a customizable digital avatar. A standard Horizon Profile will include a unique username, a profile name that’s visible to other users while in VR, a profile photo, and an avatar. Those who already have an Oculus profile will have it converted to a Horizon profile with new options.
Despite not being a social media profile, there are a lot of social media-like features tied to owning a Meta account, albeit with a fair amount of control. Users will be able to choose if they want their account to be open to the public, to friends and family, or stay completely private. The first option allows anyone to follow an account and see their activity and activity status. However, the last two options give users the choice to approve who can follow them. Furthermore, for those whose accounts are open to friends and family, only their followers can see their activity and activity status.
The private account, which will be the default option for those between the ages of 13 to 17, prevents people from seeing a user’s activities or activity status. In addition, those who choose to stay private will still receive follower requests but have the choice to review them before choosing to accept or reject them. However, anyone can view a private account’s profile picture, avatar, username, follower count, and the number of people they follow. Meta has also revealed that those who already own a VR headset will have their Oculus friends automatically converted to followers, but they will have the option to remove a follower at any time.