It's hard to think of anything VR fans hold in contempt more than the requirement that all Oculus users log into Facebook accounts in order to use their devices. Unlucky for us, former Oculus CTO John Carmack has confirmed it "isn't going away."
There have been highs and lows. We beamed when Germany began legal action against Facebook and when the House of Representatives warned they were breaking anti-trust laws. We cried when it was revealed that you'd lose all your purchases if you deleted your Facebook account and when Facebook account issues began to brick new Quest 2 units.
But, you know... all pretty standard stuff at this point.
Throughout it all, I never really got a sense as to what the measure was really all about. It's easy to see it as nothing more than Facebook consolidating their data monopoly, playing fast and lose with our details and data while they did.
But according to Former CTO at Oculus John Carmack, the situation isn't as grim as it may seem. Questioned by a fan on Twitter, the user asked if Facebook-Oculus would ever consider withdrawing the measure, especially in light of "WhatsApp users ditch[ing] it in the millions for Signal and Telegram over its privacy problems related to Facebook."
Aware of the prevailing sentiment toward the company (not to mention all the negative press I slyly included at the beginning of this very article), Carmack was quick to respond:
"[Facebook] login isn't going away. Given the climate, I don't expect people to believe it, but [Facebook] is extremely serious about privacy."
Of course, the original questioner was quick to point out that "'Facebook is extremely serious about privacy' is something we've heard for as long as Facebook has existed, and it has been very inconsistent with events." It's also clearly not a ringing endorsement from Carmack to support the policy, but perhaps it is an indication that we have been to cynical in our approach to it.
But while I can appreciate that Facebook have an eye set on cleaning up their reputation when it comes to this, particularly as Big Tech falls under increasing pressure from governments around the globe to do so, it's not so comforting to have to put my trust (and, more importantly, my data) into the hands of a massive tech conglomerate with a dodgy relationship with data protection.
However, Carmack is confident that sooner or later we will get on board. "It would probably take a decade," he writes, "for it to really get acknowledged by the public."
I mean, I'm still using my Quest 2... So I guess he might have a point. Are we just to get used to it? Does this need to be the price of security? And, more concerningly, are we to expect similar practices from other companies?