While enthusiasm was high for the technology and for the ways such a large investment could push development forward, many critics in the world of video games expressed concern when Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014. There were worries that the social media giant would use Oculus devices as a delivery mechanism for advertisements. Those fears were warranted as Facebook announced today that they have begun testing ads that are displayed inside Oculus VR headsets.
Back in May, Facebook explained that they would be serving advertisements through the Oculus App on mobile devices. Now a month later, those ads are making the leap directly into the VR headsets. The first of these advertisements will appear in Resolution Games’ shooter Blaston. Facebook confirmed that ads would begin appearing in two other Oculus VR applications in the coming weeks.
We’re starting a small test of in-headset ads with a few developers in the coming weeks. We want to help developers generate revenue and help people find great experiences at better prices—this is a part of how we’ll create a healthy, self-sustaining platform for everyone.— Boz (@boztank) June 16, 2021
It is no surprise or shock that Facebook would have an interest in serving ads via Oculus devices. The company generates as much as 95% of its revenue from advertising pushed over its social network apps. Facebook hopes to reassure users by promising that advertisements won’t be based on any data that’s stored locally on users’ headsets, such as images from their devices’ sensors or images of their hands from the hand-tracking feature.
Facebook promises that Oculus VR users will have access to the same advertising tools and options as participants in the company's social media websites and apps, including the option to hide content from specific advertisers. VR headset users hoping for an escape from real life by using Oculus headsets may be less than enthused by these new developments.