Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has commented on Facebook’s divisive decision to require accounts for accessing new VR headsets, stating he wasn’t expecting the company to force users to make such a rule.
Over on Reddit, Luckey stated he was “getting heat” from critics who quoted previous reassurances until Facebook made the decision earlier this week. He reiterated his promises and said “I guarantee that you won’t need to log into your Facebook account every time you wanna use the Oculus Rift.”
“You will not need a Facebook account to use or develop for the Rift,” Luckey wrote. “Nope. That would be lame. I promise.”
The news came as a surprise for VR users, who were told their existing Oculus accounts would be discontinued in a few years and Facebook accounts would become the new requirements for first-time headset use. Afterwards, all social activity and Oculus purchases would be more directly integrated into the company’s social media platform and branding.
According to Facebook in its announcement yesterday, the company would be giving users two years to merge their accounts with their social media. This would also suggest that social-media-free users would have to set up their own account in order to properly log into their headsets and connect it for game access. The new requirement would also include updates and any other product license activation on the Oculus Store. Facebook’s latest move is also an apparent push towards unifying themselves with Oculus after acquiring the studio for $2.3 billion in 2014. Since then, Oculus continued to work with Facebook’s support including an annual Connect conference that runs in conjunction to F8.
“Giving people a single way to log into Oculus—using their Facebook account and password— will make it easier to find, connect, and play with friends in VR,” Facebook wrote in their release. “We know that social VR has so much more to offer, and this change will make it possible to integrate many of the features people know and love on Facebook.”
Of course, the option to log into Oculus with Facebook accounts has already been active. Users on the Rift S or Quest looking to livestream their games can also put it directly over their own Facebook walls as it happens. This also connects with Facebook Gaming, the company’s own platform for sharing gameplay in the likes of Twitch, the late Mixer and YouTube Gaming.
Starting on January 21, 2023, all Oculus VR users would be required to have a Facebook account in order to make that one-time login. For Palmer Luckey, the sudden notice from Facebook took away from his promises for a closed community.
“I want to make clear that those promises were approved by Facebook in that moment and on an ongoing basis, and I really believed it would continue to be the case for a variety of reasons,” Luckey continued in his Reddit post. “In hindsight, the downvotes from people with more real-world experience than me were definitely justified.”