If you’ve bought an Oculus headset this month, or are planning to in the future, you can no longer avoid Facebook. Signing up to the social network frequented by your worst relatives is now mandatory if you want to slap one of its headsets onto your face, though existing users can avoid its clammy touch until 2023. For those that do sign up or merge their accounts, it means that if you somehow lose access to that account, you also lose access to your games.
Since the change, some Quest 2 users have reported issues tied to Facebook accounts. One early adopter found themselves almost immediately banned after setting up an account, though Facebook did restore their access a few days later.
In cases where the ban has been due to a breach of Facebook’s community standards rather than because of a glitch, it’s less clear what can be done. In an Instagram AMA last week, VP of VR and AR Andrew Bosworth recommended checking your account standing before picking up a Quest 2.
Bosworth was asked if there was any news on people being banned and losing access to their games, and he acknowledged that there have been some cases, though he claimed it’s not a large number. Benjamin Bega, who posed the question, popped the clip up on Twitter.
Boz gave me 3 clips of replies when everyone else got one, does this make me special? @hmltn @gemisisDev pic.twitter.com/E7kEAoZ8cKOctober 16, 2020
“We’ve been tracking this from day one really closely, following up with every single individual case that comes across,” Bosworth said. “The number of cases isn’t large, but of course the impact is huge to these people and we take that seriously. Every single person in VR matters to us.”
For people who already have an account, he said they “should continue to make sure their Facebook account is in good standing before they buy the headset.” That’s not to say that a banned account means there’s nothing that can be done. “They’re Facebook account issues,” he added, “they can be solved, and we’re working through them.”
There are a lot of reasons why you could be banned from Facebook. It’s not clear what’s causing the new accounts to be instantly banned, but spam, copyright infringement and nudity can all get you booted off the platform. This can be appealed, but while you wait for Facebook to respond, your headset will just be an ugly ornament.
“This is very common,” said Bosworth. “Google, Apple, Xbox—pick a favourite—they make you sign up with an account, and there’s a reason for that: We get to provide better services that way, and stronger guarantees around things like data security and compliance with regulations, so I’m a big fan of this move even still.”
Xbox, however, hasn’t recently empowered extremists or helped spread dangerous conspiracy theories. Perhaps there are some good reasons why people are a bit less squeamish about filling out some details so they can play Sea of Thieves than they are about joining a social network that’s been accused of interfering with democracy. It’s just a slightly harder sell, maybe.
If you can get over making a Facebook account, the Quest 2 is a pretty enticing headset. Jacob called it a dramatic improvement over its predecessor and the best way to get into VR, giving it a 90 in our Oculus Quest 2 review.