Why it matters: The affordability of the Meta Quest 2 has made it the most popular headset in the VR market. However, for some, the main drawback is that it requires a Facebook account. That hang-up will disappear next month with Meta’s independent VR account system.
From August, Meta . will unroll a new account system for its VR platform, separate from Facebook and Instagram accounts. The company also plans to implement a new profile system and privacy controls.
Anyone who will use a Quest 2 after August will need to create a Meta VR account. Existing users have until January 1, 2023 to switch. At that point, users who are already logged in via Facebook or Instagram can migrate to a Meta VR account and then choose whether it remains associated with the aforementioned social accounts.
Creating a Meta VR account also means creating a Meta Horizons profile, which determines the appearance of each user in Meta VR rooms, including their name and avatar. Those with Oculus profiles will need to convert them to Meta Horizons.
Instead of friends, Horizons profiles have “followers” like Instagram, with three privacy control modes: open to all, friends and family, and solo. There will also be a private setting where you can manually authorize anyone who wants to follow you. Only approved members can view your followers and those you choose to follow in private mode. However, your basic information such as name and avatar is still public.
These changes are likely to please those interested in VR who don’t want to link social media accounts to headsets. The earlier Facebook requirement raised concerns that Quest headsets could become social surveillance and information-gathering tools. It remains to be seen to what extent the independent Meta accounts will alleviate those fears.