In a 16th June blogpost, Oculus, a Facebook brand, wrote that it had started testing ads on its headsets. Resolution Games’ Blaston would be the first to undergo the evaluation.
Benefits of the Move
Facebook has started testing different advertisement formats that are VR-centric ads. That comes seven years after its founder, Palmer Luckey, said it would never flash ads or track users.
Then Facebook purchased Oculus.
Now, the social media company explains that it needs to run the advertisements to improve user experience. It would also help developers showcase their virtual reality apps, giving them an avenue to generate income.
Facebook would also be able to get a cut out of it. That will be done via a metaverse that would allow users to buy and sell computer-generated goods and services—for example, in-app mobile game purchases on Facebook.
Ampere Analysis’s research director Piers Harding-Rolls added that the firm would use its ad networks to follow any shift in consumer behavior.
He cautions, however, that the immersive nature of VR might affect adoption. Therefore, there’s a great need to balance ads with consumer experience carefully.
According to CSS Insight’s analyst, Leo Gebbie, Facebook’s decision shouldn’t surprise anyone. He said that it would be naive for people to think that the social media site wouldn’t grab the opportunity, bearing in mind that it heavily relies on advertising revenue. As of 2020, it made $17.44 billion through targeted ad sales.
He added that Oculus’ prices (from $299/ £299) are way lower than those of its competitors. Therefore, the move would give Facebook a competitive edge.
He’s wary that the move is likely to face opposition. Facebook has already violated user privacy in the past. The biggest concern is that it would continue to push the envelope, which could further invade private user data.
The social media giant has shared that users will be able to submit their feedback through the Oculus support page. It has also assured its subscribers that it will listen to both negative and positive criticism keenly before rolling the ads out widely.
It pledged to only place relevant advertisements after assessing whether a user hid or clicked through them in the past.
Projections show that the demand for VR gadgets will grow 16 times over by 2022. There are various virtual reality headsets for different operating systems and functions available in the market today.