Come August, you’ll no longer need a Facebook account in order to use the Meta Quest family of VR headsets. Instead, you’ll be able to sign up for a new Meta account and then a Meta Horizon profile, with Facebook and Instagram accounts optional bolt-ons.
Meta, formerly called Facebook, began to require Meta Quest users, formerly called Oculus Quest users, to have a Facebook account in order to use their headset back in 2020. People weren’t happy about that, both because they didn’t want a Facebook account or because the process of merging an old Oculus account with a Facebook account was laborious and broken.
In that regard, it’s good that the requirement is going away. All Quest users will need to create a Meta account and a Meta Horizon profile starting in August 2022. The Meta Horizon profile is “your social profile”, Meta say in a blog post about the news, and lets you customize your appearance in VR and manage your friends list. Friends will also now be called “Followers”, and operate similar to Instagram. All previous VR game purchases will merge into the new Meta account.
You won’t have to use Facebook or Instagram at all on the new accounts, but you can optionally link them if you want to be able to chat or play with friends from those services.
The Meta Horizon account will also let you customize your privacy settings, by letting everyone see your account, just friends and family, or no one at all.
I use a Valve Index on the rare occasion I want to hop into VR, but I’ve been tempted by a Quest 2 because it’s a wireless and relatively affordable piece of kit that impressed Katharine when she reviewed it. What has put me off is partly the need for a Facebook account, but also just more generally the idea of handing data over to Meta. This news doesn’t really change that for me.