Oculus Venues launched today on Go and Gear VR as a gateway to live VR entertainment such as concerts, comedy shows, sports games, and more. However, unhappy users have been quick to point out that the app requires you to link a Facebook account before you can use it. Previously, all Oculus content such as the store, Oculus Rooms, multiplayer games, and any other social space has given you optional social networking linkage, but it’s never been required — even if the opt-out feature is buried sometimes.
This marks a first for the Facebook-owned VR company. We reached out to Oculus to get more information on why they made this decision and were sent the following response from an Oculus spokesperson:
“Oculus Venues is about coming together around shared interests, like music, sports or comedy. Just like when you attend an event in real life, part of the fun is meeting new people who share your interests, and by connecting your Facebook account, it’s easier to meet people you might like using the optional social context features in Venues. Facebook login also helps us to keep Venues safe, since people’s conduct is associated with their authentic identity.”
The impetus for the decision, reportedly, appears to be a focus on accountability, safety, and ease of connection. In theory it makes sense, you’d want people to represent themselves openly and fairly in VR to ensure a safe space for everyone involved. However it’s a stickier situation than it might have been in year’s past given privacy concerns with both Oculus hardware and Facebook’s data collection.
What do you think of the decision? Are you less likely to try Venues now? Let us know what you think down in the comments below!