TL;DR: Facebook shut down my Oculus account locking me out of my games library and rendering my Quest VR headset unusable for over 3 months.
Solution, don’t buy from Facebook/Oculus or get games from SideQuest.
It’s what were living in…
In late May of 2019 Oculus launched the Quest Virtual Reality Headset. Priced at just £400 for the 64 Gig version it did not need a host computer or lighthouses to function, it was totally autonomous. Pretty sweet.
I was very interested in this device as it was a decent price for a pretty impressive specs with a resolution of 1440 × 1600 per eye using PenTile OLEDs with a refresh rate of 72Hz and FOV just over 90′ etc. For someone like me who has been coveting VR headsets for years this one looked to be the best bet.
I waited a few months to buy the unit and ended up purchasing the 128 Gig version for £500 as the 64 Gig was never in stock.
Originally I had planned to use it solely with my PC and play games such as Elite Dangerous, Dirt Rally 2 and X-Plane 11, this is not what the Quest was designed for really. It was designed to be used without a PC and to run games from the Oculus store on the headsets hardware itself. The headset is essentially an Android Phone with modifications.
On the first day I took delivery, after charging the headset and controllers, I ran through the intro guides and got used to the system, it was incredibly impressive, very intuitive and fun. I had been worried that after 20 minutes in VR that I may feel motion sick, especially as the Quest has a repetitively low refresh rate of 74 FPS.
I originally had no interest in investing in any games from the Oculus store, just using the headset linked with my computer for PC games. However a friend at work had told me to try out Beat Saber, there was a free demo available in the Oculus app store, so I gave it a go. After playing the demo for 10 minutes I decided I had to buy this game. So I set up a credit card with my shiny new Oculus account and bought the full game. Then the rest of the day was lost.
Honestly, I remember playing non stop for hours, had to have it plugged into the mains to continue playing. Then disaster, I kept getting tracking errors and everything started to get very jerky and unresponsive. Removing the headset and found it was pitch black. I had been playing so long the sun had gone down and the headset could no longer see it’s surroundings. I was also knackered from such a long workout, but at least I knew I had my VR legs and would not suffer from VR related motion sickness.
So basically I was very, very impressed with this headset. In the next couple of months I bought several more games from the Oculus store, ultimately spending around £100 in games for my personal library.
£80 £89 USB cable
At that time, in early 2020, connecting the Quest to a PC was somewhat problematical, the Quest was designed from the ground up to run without a PC, however they were opening up to a link with a PC and this was becoming possible.
One of the things you had to do to link to a PC was setting the headset to developer mode etc. It also ‘required‘ an official £80 USB cable! Seriously, £80! Wow. Not sure what exotic matter this cable was made of. Unobtanium?
How a massively complex system like a state of the art autonomous VR headset and pair or controllers can cost just £500, or £400 for the 64 Gig version, then a simple USB cable costs £80 is just stupid. Oculus should be ashamed for selling one at that price.
Luckily after 5 minutes research on the web I found that people were saying that any 5Gbps cable such as a £7 Anker cable works just as well. So I ordered one of these and I was then able to play my PC games on the Quest. Happy days.
I just looked to see if they are still selling the cable, they are, it now costs £89!
Quest 2 Launch (Judgement Day)
In October of 2020 Oculus were talking about launching a Quest 2 with much improved graphics & speed for a cheaper price. What’s not to like?
Even though I only had the Quest 1 for a few months I was seriously considering getting the new Quest 2. Then I found out that the new unit required a Facebook account to work. I have never had, nor wanted a Facebook account so that was kind of a deal breaker for me.
Worryingly Oculus were also going to insist on a Facebook account being mandatory for the original Quest, however there was a two year grace period before this would be rolled out. In two years the Q1 would be a historical relic so I was not worried.
This new Facebook deal was due to roll out on the 17th October. Therefore looked like I would have till that date in 2022 before I had any issues.
On the morning of October 17th I went to play Elite Dangerous on the Quest and there was a message on the headset saying ‘An unexpected error has occurred.’. On my phone app for quest was a similar message.
I was unable to use the headset without being logged in, even for games running on my PC.
I tried logging on a few more times and got the same error. Then checked the ‘I forgot my password‘ option and it said a reset would be sent. I never received one. I repeatedly tried to log on/get a reset on and off for the next few hours, no joy.
In the end I submitted a ticket to the Oculus support page explaining that I could not access my Oculus account. Then received a reply saying it would be investigated and to expect a reply in three working days.
Three days later I got a reply from Oculus/Facebook apologising for the problem and they sent a link to fix the issue. I followed the link and it took me to a guide for setting up a new Facebook account.
I guess that technically this would fix the problem and I would be able to use the headset again, however I would no longer have access to my library of games that I had spent £100 on.
I replied stating that I did not want to set up a Facebook account, I wanted access to my existing Oculus account and my library of purchased games.
A week went by and I got pretty much the exact same reply, a link on how to set up a Facebook account. At this point it was getting on for two weeks of not being able to use the VR headset at all. I could not even play PC games as I could not get past the ‘log into your account’ issue.
I tried the live chat option on the Oculus web site and was told that my account was being investigated and to be patient, it would be addressed soon.
It took around three weeks before Oculus Support finally understood what I had been telling them, that my Oculus account had been lost and that it had nothing to do with me wanting to set up a new account.
Over the following weeks I was passed from one person to the next, or was it a bot? All I ever got in response was either ‘Here is how you set up a new account’ or ‘Are you sure you did not delete it yourself?’ Why would I delete my account? I had invested around a hundred pounds on games. Sure I could set up a new account, which now REQUIRED it be linked to Facebook, but I would have lost all my games and progress for these games. I would have to re-purchase them and start from scratch. A less than optimal solution.
I gave them a list of dates with receipts of purchased games which had reference numbers and my account email address etc. I thought this would prove to them that I had an Oculus account and it would make it easy for them to find.
Three Months of Support Calls
Three months had now passed and I was then, finally, told that the reason I no longer had access to my Oculus account was that I had linked it to a Facebook account then I had shut down that Facebook account. I told them that I have never had a Facebook account let alone link it with my Oculus account. I asked for a name for this linked Facebook account and never got a reply, they simply did not answer my question.
At least now they seemed to have settled on a reason for the deletion of my Oculus account, even if it did seem wrong. Next step was to get my money back. This dragged on for a couple more weeks with Oculus/Facebook dodging the questions again.
At this point I told the support person/bot that I would now take this up with my credit card company to get them to help me in the refund of my apps.
That got a response.
They were now saying that they would give me a refund on the games I had bought. They did request proof of games purchased. I gave them copies of receipts which included purchase numbers and other account details. I had already provided them with this information much earlier, they seem to have lost that also, even though it was visible in the tickets history..
I would, extremely reluctantly, have to set up a Facebook account, I had no other option other than to refuse the refund and continue down the Credit card route. Even then I could end up with still having to set up a Facebook account.
Another week later and I finally got a refund on my games from Oculus. That’s almost three and a half months after the account being locked.
There was no sweetener, i.e. ‘Here is an extra game for your troubles’, NOTHING. I guess I should be glad I got anything back. I have since heard of a lot of people in the same boat as me, even people on Facebook accounts that have been locked for no reason. Some have had them unlocked months later with no explanation other than ‘We did it to protect you.’
Imagine having your Steam account locked for no fault of your own for over 3 months. Or buying a physical device such as a car and not being able to drive it for 3 months.
I truly believe that Facebook erroneously lumped me in with the new Quest 2 users. From searching Reddit etc I came across lots of other people in the same boat.
The reason my ordeal went on for such a long time was probably due to their support dealing with a crap ton of other people with the same issue.
Edge of Darkness
It’s a great shame that this Facebook policy was implemented as I truly loved the Quest, however with this new draconian control via Facebook I would never consider buying anything from them again.
At any time my account may be shut down, for no good reason. If you choose to buy a headset you must be prepared to have it locked for no reason for an unknown length of time. Not a great deal.
The tighter your grasp…
Luckily there are some great games for the Quest available via SideQuest. This is a third party site that has nothing to do with Facebook. These SideQuest games and apps will run on the Quest 1 & 2 headsets and are often free, some are paid for.
If Facebook shuts your account down you can start a new one and reinstall all the SideQuest apps without an issue. Unlike the official Oculus store.
So my advice is to use the SideQuest library of games for the Quest.