Is the Oculus on a Quest to Make VR a Success?
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The Oculus Quest 2 is a technical major step forward. With a better chipset, higher resolution, and higher frame rate, there were already a couple of great benefits. On top of that, there were additional benefits like upscaling the original Quest games, a smaller and lighter headset, and a low price tag. This should make it a surefire hit. However, there are some issues that will at least temporarily get in the way of the Quest 2’s success.

The two biggest issues are linked. Part of the issue is the fact that instead of just requiring an Oculus account, like the original Quest headset, it requires a Facebook account. That alone has turned off some potential users, including people who invested in the original Oculus Quest. This also means that the accounts also happen to fall within many of the same account creation and maintenance terms of service as the social media platforms under Facebook’s umbrella. That’s kind of a “good news, bad news” kind of thing.

One of the benefits of this is the fact that you can’t use a fake name on the platform. The smart thing about this is the fact that people can’t necessarily hide behind the mask of anonymity in order to be dicks in multiplayer games. Despite the benefit, there are issues with it as well. For one thing, forcing the Facebook account with a real name attached to it actually does breach some privacy laws in some countries, which is why the Oculus Quest 2 has at least temporarily banned in some countries like, just for an example, Germany.

There’s another issue though and we’ve seen that popping up recently with some people who have gotten the Oculus Quest 2. If the created or existing Facebook account breaches the rules for the headset, you lose effectively render the headset that you’ve bought into a rather pretty paperweight. You also lose access to any of the content that you happened to have put money down on. This issue is another reason why we aren’t entirely ready for a fully digital future. Since the Oculus Quest 2 is backward compatible with your previous Quest purchases, if you traded up, you end up running into issues losing access to previous Quest games. And if you get banned from your Facebook account or deactivate your Facebook for any period of time, you also potentially lose access to the content that you spent money on.

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With all of this said, there are ways around this. The biggest thing that needs to be considered is revamping the account creation standards. While limiting the potential for bullying and toxic gaming communities is admirable, there’s still some pro-consumer wiggle-room on the standards for making an account that wouldn’t lead to bricking of a headset. Microsoft and PlayStation both have systems that allow players to rate and/or block players who are being toxic parts of the community. Facebook could take away the requirement for a Facebook account and institute something like what Microsoft and PlayStation already has in place. That way, they don’t need the Facebook account requirement to get people onto the Oculus ecosystem. It’ll end the bans that some countries have put in place.

Now, there are a couple of things that Facebook can do to drive Oculus users to the Facebook social media site if that’s their goal. For one thing, get developers to make content in games for people who have linked a Facebook account with their Oculus account. If they make compelling content either on Facebook-owned social media platforms (including obviously Facebook) or for Facebook users on the Oculus ecosystem, that would drive a higher portion of Oculus users to the Facebook-owned social media sites.

Jon Gronli
Jon Gronli
@JGronli

Contributing Writer
Date: 11/24/2020

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