Facebook had cancelled F8 as well as all other in-person events through 2021 thanks to the pandemic, but it did not rule out virtual ones. On September 16th, the company will go forward with its annual AR/VR conference, except it will be held virtually. Most important of all, however, is that it will no longer be called Oculus Connect. Instead, it will now be known as Facebook Connect.
“Connect has grown to include so much more than Oculus, with research updates and product news from Spark AR to Facebook Horizon,” said the company in a blog post. “Moving forward our annual AR/VR event will be called Facebook Connect to better reflect its broader scope.” Since it’ll be virtual, the company said that the event will be completely free and open to the public for the first time.
Further, the company is changing the name of its internal AR/VR team to Facebook Reality Labs (or FRL). FRL was the name previously given to the company’s research division, which in turn used to be known as Oculus Research. That team will now be known as FRL Research, and will still be led by Chief Scientist Michael Abrash.
In a statement, Facebook said: “Before today, we lacked a unified brand identity from which to tell the story of how we’re building the future of VR and AR, With the Facebook Reality Labs name, we’re making clear where these technologies are coming from.”
Facebook has also clarified that it is not doing away with the Oculus name. It still plans on making Oculus-branded VR headsets and Oculus is still at the heart of Facebook’s VR efforts. It’s just that the Oculus Connect event has evolved to include various Facebook’s AR/VR projects over the years.
Be that as it may, fans might not be so pleased with the name change. There was already a backlash last week when the Oculus fan community balked at the need for a Facebook login to use Oculus headsets. The further melding of Oculus into Facebook might not be what people want.