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Friday, May 24, 2024

Goodbye Oculus: Meta moves away from the brand name for their VR products

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Everyone caught the big news from Facebook’s metaverse presentation in October that the company was renaming itself Meta, but that wasn’t the only name change Facebook announced at the time. Oculus, the biggest name in VR, is also on the way out. This particular aspect of the larger “Meta” shift seems to have largely gone unnoticed, but Faceb—sorry, Meta’s VP of AR/VR, Andrew Bosworth, explicitly articulated this change in a post on October 28, the same day as Mark Zuckerberg’s captivating and totally convincing presentation announcing the overall initiative.

In Bosworth’s own words:

“VR will be the most immersive way for people to access the metaverse and as we look toward our goal of bringing 1B people into VR, we want to make it clear that Quest is a Meta product. For this reason, we’re simplifying our brand architecture and shifting away from the Oculus brand for our hardware. Starting in early 2022, you’ll start to see the shift from Oculus Quest from Facebook to Meta Quest and Oculus App to Meta Quest App over time.”

Though Bosworth mentioned early 2022 as their target date, you can already see the changes start to trickle in. You can still go to “oculus.com” for example, but all of the branding on the website is for the “Meta Quest.” It’s inconsistent, though—the product menu still refers to it as the Oculus Quest 2, and you can still find the Oculus name elsewhere around the website. For now, the Oculus Twitter account is still using the Oculus oval logo by graphic designer Cory Schmitz, but all that seems like it’s on borrowed time. According to captures from the Wayback Machine, Oculus.com switched over to its Meta Quest branding on November 21.

The move is certainly curious, if not baffling. While the VR market has opened up, with competing headsets offering a lot of incentives over Oculus, that name is still almost synonymous with virtual reality. Oculus was the first big player of the contemporary VR boom, after all, and even though it eschews its PC roots, the Quest is still the best VR headset for most people. The name alone is highly valuable, but Meta seems happy to throw it away as it attempts to make itself synonymous with the metaverse. No doubt I’ll be eating those words, alongside a nutritious grasshopper slurry, while I enjoy my Meta Quest 6 in the cozy confines of my Meta Pod 2 in the Meta-dominated future of 2047 AD. 

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