Starting in August, you won’t need to connect a Facebook account to use Meta’s virtual reality (VR) headsets, as the company is rolling out a new account system.
Meta accounts will be the new standard of change (opens in new tab) for new and existing users. This movement reverses a old requirement which forced Oculus users to sign up on Facebook to use the Meta headphones.
People using a Facebook account will be forced to make the switch. Meta’s original plan to drop support for Oculus accounts is still scheduled for January 1, 2023. After that date, you will need to create a new Meta account to continue playing.
The company clarifies that its account system is not directly linked to social media platforms. No one will know what you’re playing unless you share the information. But people have the option to connect their Meta account to Facebook or Instagram through the account center (opens in new tab) and unlock new features. This includes finding friends on Facebook to play VR games and chatting with people on the Messenger app.
The company is also working on a feature that will allow you to use your Meta account on other Meta devices. We reached out to Meta to find out when the extended functionality will be released and what else Meta is working on. We’ll update this story if we get a response.
New profiles and security
In addition to Meta accounts, the company is implementing Horizon Profiles with new privacy controls.
Horizon Profiles are in-game accounts that house a player’s avatar, profile picture, and unique username. You can only have one Horizon profile per account. It will also tweak the menu language a bit, turning your friends into Followers, similar to Instagram. Meta states that this word change “[provide] more ways to be social and connect with others.” This interactivity can be fostered by players sharing recently unlocked achievements and their active status, as per the examples given.
As for privacy controls, a new menu is being added with three view settings: Open to All, Friends & Family, and Solo. These settings allow people to control who can view their profile, from everyone on the platform to yourself. Users can also set their Horizon profile to private so they can better filter follower requests. However, items like your username and profile picture will still be visible.
To say that people don’t like Facebook is a huge understatement. The goodwill towards the platform has soured in recent years and it doesn’t help that Meta admitted that he doesn’t always know what happens to the user data he collects.. And then there are the mass data breaches.
Needless to say, removing the Facebook account requirement is a big deal. Non-Facebook accounts for Quest headsets were in the works for a while (opens in new tab). Now the question is what is the purpose of Meta with these accounts.
If we had to guess, the new account system appears to be a continuation of Meta trying to distance itself further from Facebook as the company struggles to make the metaverse viable. But if one recent internal report (opens in new tab) is anything to go by, the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “obsession” is just driving people away.
If you are interested in getting a VR headset, has a list of recommendations.