In the coming weeks, Facebook plans to start testing ads Oculus Quest owners will see while playing games and using apps with their headsets. The first of these will appear in Blaston, a first-person bullet-hell from Resolution Games, followed by software from two other unnamed developers sometime in the next few weeks.
"For now, this is a test with a few apps," the company said in a blog post spotted by The Verge. "Once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and the community, we'll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the Oculus platform and in the Oculus mobile app."
As you can see from the GIF above, you can hover your controller over an in-game ad to interact with it and save it for later viewing. Meanwhile, tapping the three dots icon displays the option to hide an ad. Facebook says the introduction of in-headset ads "doesn't change" its current privacy or policy policies. Specifically, the company goes out of its way to note it won't use information stored on your Oculus Quest headset to target specific promotions at you. Included in that is the data processed by the cameras on your headset and any information you share with Oculus Move, its fitness tracking platform. The company also says it has "no plans" to use movement data to target ads at the moment.
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
Facebook goes on to say it's introducing in-app ads to explore new ways to help developers generate revenue as it looks to make VR a "self-sustaining" platform. It also notes the additional revenue will help it make more affordable headsets like the $299 Oculus Quest 2.
Much like its decision last year to require a Facebook account to use Oculus hardware, today's announcement is likely to irritate VR enthusiasts. But in many ways, when it comes to Oculus and ads, the writing has been on the wall for a while. Since 2019, Facebook has been using the data it does collect from Oculus devices to push targeted ads to connected Facebook accounts, and more recently it started testing ads within the Oculus mobile app.