Facebook has made no secret of the fact that ads are coming to its Oculus VR platform in some capacity. As a part of its v29 software update for Oculus Quest last month, the company said it would begin testing ads for content within the Oculus App, although it wasn’t clear to what extent it would touch games. Now Facebook says it’s beginning to experiment with ads in paid games too, with popular 1v1 shooter Blaston (2020) from Resolution Games and “a couple other developers” signing onto a beta to test in-game ads.

The company says the advertisements, which are being pitched as a way for developers to generate more revenue from their apps, will begin showing up in select Oculus platform games and experiences over the coming weeks.

At least based on the only image provided, it appears the in-game ad beta will allow developers to insert dynamic billboards directly into game environments.

Image courtesy Facebook

“For now, this is a test with a few apps,” the company says in an Oculus blogpost. “[O]nce 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 well as guidance for businesses and developers interested in advertising on Oculus.”

At least on the face of things, it seems Facebook is primarily going to rely on user web traffic and content interests to drive targeted ads; the company says it won’t use locally stored info like raw images from the sensors on Quest, images of your hands, or your weight, height, or gender. In-app messaging from Facebook Messenger, Parties, and chats aren’t up for grabs either, which includes microphone audio.

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There will be a way to hide specific ads too, or hide ads from a certain advertiser completely, Facebook says. You’ll also be able to turn off ad impressions based on your web traffic outside of VR. That won’t change the number of ads coming your way though, the company says, just their degree of relevancy to the user.

The company says it’s focusing on inobtrusive methods to let developers insert ads whilst exploring “new ad formats that are unique to VR” in the future. What that means exactly, we can’t say for sure. One thing is clear however: the more detailed biometric data headsets include—like eye-tracking, optical face tracking, and integrated wearables—the closer any company can get to building a much more clear picture of its users’ interests, attitudes, and spending habits. We’re not there yet, but we may be witnessing Facebook take the first steps in that direction.

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Check out our article on How to Change Quest 2 Privacy Settings and See Your VR Data Collected by Facebook to learn more about what’s being collected, and how it’s being used.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • MosBen

    They’re just making my decision to not buy a Quest 2 extra easy.

    • dk

      it will be interesting if they make all games by studios they own free with ads and u pay to get rid of the ads ….or they r not that noticeable and there is no payed version ….basically the facebook youtube and so on strategy get a lot of users on a platform with most of the users not paying anything and get payed mostly from people/companies that want to advertise on that platform …..the internet strategy instead of the console strategy

  • dk
    • Charles

      Facebook = IOI.

      Better not let them monopolize VR.

  • superdonkey

    make the game / app free and i’ll look at the ads cos 95% of oculus paid content aint worth the money

    • Cless

      But… you know they won’t do that. They will charge you the exact same. They are not happy with making money, they need to do ALL the possible money.

  • wickfut

    this is the shit they said they wouldn’t do and why everyone cancelled the original rift pre order and went with a vive.

  • xyzs

    Zuckerberg plan is simply entering phase 2…

    • Frozenbizkit

      Phase 3.. You don’t wanna know.

  • Mario Baldi

    Oh great, how to ruin the feeling of presence immediately.

    • jbob4mall

      Well, in real life there’s ads everywhere…

      • kakek

        Yes, and games immerse me in something else that the real life. In the case of Blaston, in a futiristic world where I’m NOT supposed to see an add for a very mundane bank credit, reminding me of my real life while I’m playing.

    • Frozenbizkit

      Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine.

  • sebrk

    Happy I left the Fecesbook ecosystem when they bought Oculus. Great hardware and software. Shit company.

    Can hardly be a surprise. Fecesbook is an advertising company just like Google.

  • Geoff

    And when eye tracking comes in, they will be able to produce heat maps of where people look the most on a particular advert / non advert. Basically, selling “where you look” is a massive new market to Facebook as they will be able to produce targeted advertising to you based on what you stare at the most.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    If you want more revenue from your app, increase the selling price, don’t get people first to pay 10 euro’s for your game to later add ads… I think reviewbombs are gonna increase…
    In a free to play game I can imagine it, but not in paid games, that’s just not done, excluding appropriate product placements like in movies, so non intrusive and part of the environment.

    • I was coming just to say this. There’s no sense I pay 15€ for a game and then I have also to see ads. That’s disrespectful for the user

    • Lucidfeuer

      The fact that even you has this common-sense regarding this practice tells how much of a no-go this is

  • Anonymous

    I personally actually welcome VR ads if they an be done interactively or creatively. In this era, it is foolish to believe that you can truly have an ad-free environment for anything related to IT. The type of ad I hate however would be those low-effort, force pushed ads like in YouTube that just plays a generic video or show some pictures. I hope FB can have curation guidelines on VR ads like Oculus Store if they really are going this route.

    Unfortunately since this is FB, it makes you wonder how much their promises (ie trying not to be obtrusive, headset data stays in headset, etc) actually mean anything in the future. They also have a poor track history on privacy handling, possibly worse than Google imo.

  • I do not support his at all. Do it in free games only, if you must. But I hope you never do it on the headset in general, because I paid for that thing outright, and I don’t want your f’n ads in there–ever!

  • jbob4mall

    When are people going to complain about all the ads in Hollywood movies they already payed for?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Those are just part of the environment and productplacement has been around since the dawn of moviemaking, those are non-intrusive and that shouldn’t really be a problem in games if the environment is appropriate for it (so no ads in a medieval game as in those days there wasn’t a billboard or something like that around).

      • jbob4mall

        That’s what I’m hoping will happen. I don’t expect mobile game type ads every 10 minutes that stop the game.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yeah, an ad between levels on a free to play game I don’t mind, but in a game I already paid money for it’s just not done.

        • silvaring

          It’s not the ads that are the problem, its the tracking data being used without your knowledge.

      • Elena

        Actually no, they came in during the early 80’s and we all went ERK at the time, but then kept buying movies anyway. I remember seeing adds for the first 10 minutes of movies in German theaters, saying “Well they’d never do that in the states.”. And in the 90’s they started doing it in the states. Customers didn’t boycott en masse, so now we’re all stuck with it.

    • Lucidfeuer

      I’m sorry, what ads in Hollywood? You’re talking about product placement, which was specifically invented by marketing agencies to AVOID the intrusion of ads?

      • jbob4mall

        Well they failed then. Like a shot of Kevin Costner waking up in the morning to have coffee in his front yard overlooking a majestic view. Or a Spider-Man montage that ends with him using his web to Dr Pepper bottle. Ads are ads. Doesn’t matter what you call them. And I have seen plenty of scenes that are really just commercials.

        This is a straight commercial in a full length movie –


        There’s no reason for that scene other than to show Dr Pepper.

        In all likelihood that’s what Facebook intends to do. Having mobile style ads pop up just wouldn’t work in vr.

        The fact you don’t have a problem with it because you grew up with it. It’s hypocritical.

        • Lucidfeuer

          As stated on UVR, there’s never been a movie with ads. Product placement is a form a marketing technic, and there’s a reason why they went for it instead of interrupting movies with ads, so obvious that I don’t need to explain.

          Nobody likes ads, maybe at the exception of some ads 90s-2000s when they became piece of arts or movies for a while, before becoming alienating degenerate communication format. It became even worse with the internet, banners, pop-ups, feed posts, especially interrupting ones. The CPM on internet is constantly going down and people are developing an “information ignorance” syndrome.

          So you want to put it in a video game or worse, a VR experience, and not a free one where you don’t get to say what monetisation they should have, but a paid one, which is illegal? “No, I don’t I will”

  • Ad

    This is as bad as the login, but honestly a lot worse. XR went through the evolution the internet went through, but in a fraction of the time. We’ve now condemned the majority of people who will only experience XR in the future (and likely will have to use it the way a smartphone is basically essential today) to a disgusting corporate wasteland, entire realities that are hellish behavior modifying and manipulating caricatures. Fuck Facebook, fuck the devs who go along with this, and fuck all the enablers who said that this was a matter of personal choice or a console war or that this isn’t that bad. Ads are social and psychological pollution and XR will make them so much worse.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      The login I really don’t see as a problem, it’s hardware from facebook so it’s normal to need a facebook account, just like you need a PSN account for the playstation or a Microsoft account for the Xbox, an Apple account for the iPhone/iPad. But I do agree with it being ‘not done’ to show ads in the headset itself, unless it’s a free-2-play game.

      • Ad

        You know you don’t need a PSN account for the plastation, right? Or an apple account to use an iphone? And those accounts aren’t part of a giant adware service, they’re entirely device focused? I don’t even think ads in a free game is okay, it’s still polluting XR and as an entirely new medium it shouldn’t just be accepted, especially since this is just the beginning.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yeah right, buying an iPhone without creating an Apple account is like buying a car and not buy any gasoline (and Apple DOES use the account for ads etc, not as intrusive as Facebook does, that I’ll give you)…. Well with consoles it’s a bit different, you don’t really need it, but these days more and more games do require it.

          • Caven

            FaceBook is pretty unique in that not only do they insist on knowing my actual identity (other companies like Apple and Google will let me get away with a plain ol’ internet alias), but FaceBook also demands to know the identities of all the people I interact with. Even banks and government agencies don’t require that level of information disclosure.

            If FaceBook “only” wanted the same level of disclosure as what’s typical with other countries, I’d have a lot less of a problem with FaceBook.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh please, don’t talk bullocks, they dont demand to know the real identities of all the people you interact with.

          • Caven

            It’s a social media network. Interacting with people is the whole point. Every other Facebook user also has to provide their real identities, and most people’s contacts are going to be full of real people, not internet aliases. Good luck interacting with family and friends on Facebook without Facebook knowing who you are and who they are.

            And I can’t even opt out. Simply knowing people who use Facebook means my information can be mined from their contact lists, even though I don’t use Facebook and have never had a Facebook account. It’s already well known that Facebook can make friend suggestions based on mutual acquaintances, among other things.

      • Sven Viking

        Excluding the new (optional) Digital Editions, PlayStation and Xbox consoles can be used without PSN or Microsoft accounts, by the way, though not online.

      • Kevin White

        It’s not needing an account that is the problem, it’s needing a (ugh) Facebook account.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Again, it’s a facebook product, so it makes sense it requires a facebook account, the account system facebook is using. It would not make real sense for them to setup another type of accountsystem.

          • Kevin White

            Sure, it makes sense, and it makes sense for me to avoid it like the plague BECAUSE it’s a Facebook product.

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      “Ads are pollution”. Wow, calm down. Ads are necessary for any business whatsoever, and business is necessary for any research (no money = no research). Chances are you’d never have bought your computer/phone/movie/whatever if you hadn’t seen an ad for it somewhere.

      It’s all about implementation. And we know the implementation is gonna be bad, so the backlash is 100% deserved, but this whole anti-corporate mentality needs to chill a bit…

      Let’s show Facebook and VR devs we hate this direction, but let’s stay rational about it.

      • Elena

        Ads are polution. And I don’t care about the implementation. Anything that gets adds gets a 0 review, a request for refund, and a never buy a new game from that publisher again.

      • Ad

        Ads are the business model but it’s not as though other ones don’t exist. Look at the Apple vs Facebook fight.

  • Ad

    Typical doublespeak from Facebook. They could lower their cut but instead they use devs as a prop to push their ad platform, the real product.

  • Holdup

    Long as I don’t see a modern ad in like a Skyrim game or sum, that would break the theme, stuff like that or a ad covering my vision

  • carl hudson

    Why are people so surprised? Companies have been using gaming, film and music platforms to advertise for years; this is no different. No one seems to be complaining about that!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Productplacement is something different from actually popping up a screen with an add as shown in the example here.

    • silvaring

      Yeah clearly tracking your gaze, hand movements, posture and recording every word is the same as an advert on a television. / S

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      Err… People DO complain about ads in movies, gaming and everywhere else. Are you living in a cave or what?

      And there IS a difference between the XR platform and everything else. XR ads are much more intrusive than product placement in a movie or video ads on YouTube. The XR ecosystem is vastly different from anything else.

      It’s all about balance. Facebook will have to make non-intrusive ads.

  • NL_VR

    Se how well this goes.
    one interesting thing.
    People here like to discuss negatives more than content in VR.
    Are some people writing here actually any VR users or just “Facebook hater” ?
    I use Oculus Quest and i have not experience any of the negativity i have read among many comments abour Oculus/Facebook on this site.

    • Tommy

      Go to Google and look up Facebook data handling. That is what you have to look forward to.

      • NL_VR

        i have read it all. but i dont care i use Oculus anyway. You cant get any better than Quest 2 right now imo. If there is any better later i probably buy that.

  • oomph2

    I means : make your headsets free of cost

  • Denis Mašek

    Well, I just hope I can PiHole the shit out of those ads, this is just disgusting….

    • sebrk

      Once I got PiHole up nothing worked with Oculus but that’s OK: I jumped ship anyway.

  • Those Population One Billboards all over the world displaying their logo, hmmmmm. Maybe soon I’ll be sniping fools while on top of a sprite ad.

  • Tommy

    I’m out. Bye Facebook/Oculus

  • Lucidfeuer

    After asking a friend who’s a consumer and licensing legal expert in the EU, he confirmed what I suspected: what they’re doing is absolutely illegal outside of dumbistan.

    Ads in a F2P, “free” or subscribed…basically any conditioned access that is not contractualised with a purchase act, can have all the ads it wants.

    But it absolutely illegal to put advertisement, or for shorts (because the legal mumbo jumbo is complex and ambiguous): after-the-fact removal, modification or financial -exploitation- of a paid software or digital product is illegal, even with the reserve that you can ostensibly opt-out.

    The Quest 2 sucks anyway, all the “gleeful” friends who recently discovered VR by buying a Quest 1/2 have already succumbed to the dusty shelf syndrome, but it adds yet again to the fact that by far, Facebook is the worst consumer/B2C company that there is today.

  • johann jensson

    Let me guess, i don’t have to worry, because i play only PC games through VorpX and VR ports a la DrBeef? []-)