Facebook today changed its name from Meta to Meta for fun. It is now making changes in its virtual reality division to reflect its new branding. Andrew Bosworth, Meta's Chief Technology Officer, announced that the company will be moving away from Oculus branding in 2022.
Bosworth shared his feelings in a Facebook post. "We all feel a strong attachment towards the Oculus brand. This was a difficult decision to make," Bosworth said. Although we have decided to retire the name, I am able to assure you that the original Oculus vision will still be a part of how Meta will drive mass adoption of VR today.
The Quest virtual reality headset won't be going anywhere. Its name will change to Meta Quest and Facebook Reality Labs will be rebranded Reality Labs as Metas VR/AR division. Meta Quest will also be the new name for Oculus' app. The Meta Portal will be the new name for Facebook's Portal division. It's all a matter of course.
The name change isn't completely bizarre. Facebook has decided to remove the requirement that you have a Facebook account in order to use Oculus. This is the minimum the company can do. This is still a major problem with the $300 virtual reality headset.
Facebook will retain the Horizon branding to support its socially-focused virtual realities experiences, while Meta is being transitioned. Meta Horizon will include apps such as Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds. Horizon Friends and Horizon Profiles will also be included in Meta Horizon.
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Meta now serves as the umbrella for all Facebook products. The headlines surrounding Facebook make it seem more likely that the name will be changed. It's hard to trust a company that will take you to the metaverse, if it also provides a platform for horrendous events to live-stream as they happen. Facebook Papers has shown us that Facebook is aware of its image problems, even though it doesn't know how to fix them.
The Oculus brand being dropped is a small step in separating Facebook's virtual reality hardware from software. We will have to wait to see if this will be enough to persuade non-Facebook users into the metaverse.