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Facebook to test in-headset ads in Oculus games

The test will only run on a few VR titles only but could be expanded to the ecosystem more broadly if successful

Facebook is set to test in-app ads in its Oculus virtual reality ecosystem.

Resolution Games' Blaston is one of the titles that will start featuring ads in the coming weeks, the announcement said. Two other apps are due to test advertisements too, though they have not been named yet.

The company said it could be a new way for developers to generate revenue: "This is a key part of ensuring we're creating a self-sustaining platform that can support a variety of business models that unlock new types of content and audiences," the announcement read.

Depending on how the test goes, and based on feedback from developers and the community, Facebook could make the feature available more broadly, it said.

"This is a new innovation in the advertising industry, and it's still early days," the announcement continued. "We're currently investing in unobtrusive ads as a new way for developers to build businesses -- and though we're not quite ready to test them yet, we're also exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR."

Talking to The Verge, a spokesperson clarified that the system will use data from the user's Facebook profile to display the ads. It will also take into account "whether you've viewed content, installed, activated, or subscribed to a Oculus app, added an app to your cart or wishlist, if you've initiated checkout or purchased an app on the Oculus platform, and lastly, whether you've viewed, hovered, saved, or clicked on an ad within a third-party app."

Facebook announced last year that it would require users to log into Oculus VR devices using Facebook accounts. The move sparked controversy as it appeared that violations of Facebook's Community Standards could impact access to Oculus content. It also transpired that deleting a Facebook account that is linked to an Oculus VR headset would also wipe out all Oculus purchases and information.

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Marie Dealessandri avatar
Marie Dealessandri: Marie joined in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2016. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack. GI resident Moomins expert.
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