Facebook to start testing ads in Oculus games

Oculus ad
(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook is planning to begin sticking ads in Oculus Quest games and apps within a few weeks, using data pulled from users' Facebook profiles. Facebook detailed its plans in a blog post, saying that in-headset ads are "a key part of ensuring we’re creating a self-sustaining platform."

This inevitable step comes less than a year after Facebook began forcing new Oculus headset owners to use a Facebook account. And, of course, the ads will be able to pull on information from your Facebook profile, a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge.

That personalized data includes a lot of what you're doing on the Oculus, like what apps you've viewed and installed and even what other ads you've clicked on. It won't include more sensitive material, like your private conversations or "any weight, height, or gender information that you choose to provide to Oculus Move." Presumably any age or gender information on your Facebook profile is fair game for targeted advertising, though.

Developers will be able to earn money from in-game ads, with Facebook keeping a portion of the revenue. According to The Verge, Facebook says it hasn't decided whether ads will eventually make their way to the Oculus Home hub, which seems likely once their ad tech becomes more advanced. This test is for flat ads that would look at home on any website, but Facebook says it's "also exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR."

The first ads will appear in a game called Blaston, with more apps to follow. Bizarrely, the Oculus blog demonstrating these early in-app ads show that you'll have the option to click on an ad and save the link for later, something I definitely find myself wanting to do with advertisements all the time. There will be a drop-down menu to report individual ads or hide them, but Facebook doesn't mention an option to disable ads altogether. 

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).