We learned last August that Facebook, owners of Oculus since 2014, was going to start requiring all new Oculus users to login using a Facebook account, with a plan to eliminate legacy Oculus accounts by 2023.
This was viewed with suspicion by many who expected that Facebook (motto: Evil is just a question of money, how evil do you want to be?) was planning to collect and abuse data from these accounts.
And now we have the confirmation. This past week Facebook Reality Labs (formerly Oculus and I feel like they should put the word “harsh” in before “reality”) posted a blog update announcing that they would in fact be collecting data from your VR usage in order to present ads and make you a focus of targeted marketing.
This, I am sure, surprised exactly nobody.
Your Facebook data will even be popping ads in the Oculus app for you.
The surprising… or perhaps “galling” or “outrageous” is the right word, I am not sure… part of the blog post was where they announced that they were starting to test injecting ads into select VR games based on whatever skeevy data Facebook has collected on you.
On reflection, “surprising” was clearly not the right word because I found the whole thing absolutely unsurprising once I read about it. It seemed quite on track for Facebook.
I am sure this is exactly what every gamer is looking for, ads based on their every day life, viewing habits, and purchases, showing up in the escapist pursuits.
I mean, I am perhaps not the best one to going on about immersion, it being a delicate line that I can only cross when I am absolutely not thinking about being immersed, a cotton candy sort of mental state that melts away the moment I realize it has happened, but I can guarantee it is never going to happen if I get real estate ads in my game because I liked a Facebook post my wife put up about her latest listing… because spousal support is about all I can manage on their platform these days.
Of course, I don’t actually own an Oculus VR headset… but if I did, I would be disgusted with it I imagine… or myself. I am sure I’d find something to be mad at.