It will take 10 months, but you no longer need to have a Facebook account to use the Meta Quest 2 headset. Meta released an update on the evening of August 23, 2022 after an announcement last October. Obviously, the helmet will not be able to be used without any kind of account: existing users will have to use a “Meta Account” instead.
In doing so, the company follows a policy similar to that of its competitors such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, or even Amazon. The use of Facebook accounts instead of “generic” accounts that could potentially be associated with all of the company’s products (which it will eventually be) was immediately criticized by the entire ecosystem and industry watchers when it was announced in August 2020 of the year.
Thus, this reckless strategy will last two years. Initially, Meta VR products required an Oculus account, named after the brand then in use. That was dropped last year in favor of Meta, which became the company’s global identity, somewhat separating it from the social network that was its first product (and now declining in popularity).
However, users will still have the option to link their Facebook and Instagram accounts to a meta account. And they will need to create a Meta Horizon profile, which will replace the old Oculus profile and integrate the social dimension reserved for virtual reality (generally very similar to what can be found on the Xbox, PlayStation or Steam platforms). You must select a username, profile name (public), profile picture, and avatar (in 3D).
The competition is already tough
Meta accounts are purely administrative and do not include any specific social component. Of course, existing customers will be able to disconnect their Facebook account from their headset if they choose to. Horizon accounts are currently strictly reserved for the Meta ecosystem, and the apps of the same name in particular. Horizon Worlds, still in its infancy a multiplayer social game, has been available in France since last week.
The service is being touted by Meta as essential to its vision of a future “metaverse”, but it should be noted that it is already facing stiff competition from indie developers. For example, Ready Player Me, an interoperable avatar service specializing in virtual reality, just raised $53 million.
The timing of the announcement is also not accidental: the Cambria project, which will be focused more on professional users or at least “prosumers”, will be presented in September or at the latest in October, during the next Meta Connect conference. Positioning him as a mandatory Facebook account would be heresy.
Julien Bergounhoux @JBergounhoux