Is it Meta or Oculus? Apparently, Meta can't make up its mind
Meta has worked hard to erase the Oculus brand. Now the company is calling its VR publishing arm "Oculus Publishing". What's going on at Meta?
With the Metaverse pivot and Facebook's rebranding to Meta in October 2021, the company announced that it was phasing out Oculus as a hardware brand. Oculus Quest became Meta Quest.
“I want everyone who buys a headset from us to know the company that is building that headset, that company is Meta,” Meta's CTO Andrew Bosworth said.
Since then, the rebranding has gone through several stages. A shift that we've documented in detail.
The Oculus brand is back in the spotlight
Yesterday at GDC, Meta announced an official name for its VR third-party-publisher: "Oculus Publishing."
Meta said it has contributed funding to more than 300 third-party-titles, with an additional 150 titles in active development. Meta's first-party studios continue to operate under the umbrella of "Oculus Studios."
Interesting that they double down on the Oculus branding, not only do they keep Oculus Studios but introduce Oculus Publishing, a new name featuring it. That is after they filed for "Meta Gaming Studios" and "Meta Gaming" as trademarks in Oct 2021 resp. Nov 2022. https://t.co/GcjPELAjU0 pic.twitter.com/1vsRvwMTXg
— NyaVR (@nya_vr_) March 23, 2023
Meta has made it clear in the past that the Oculus brand will not disappear entirely and will live on in software and developer tools. So, strictly speaking, Meta is not contradicting itself.
Still, the move looks like a PR stunt. Why is Meta suddenly putting the spotlight on a brand it has been trying to remove from its main VR product? A trademark filing from late 2021 suggests that Meta at least considered renaming Oculus Studios to Meta Gaming Studios in late 2021.
"Oculus" is still a strong brand
This change of heart could be related to the fact that Oculus is still a strong brand and deeply embedded in people's minds. Especially in the US, Oculus is often used as a synonym for virtual reality. Keeping at least part of the name and logo should help with brand recognition. Especially now that Meta Quest 2 is selling less than the previous two years.
Yes I am aware that at the time it WAS Oculus. But it’s NOT Oculus anymore so stop saying Oculus. Oculus is dead.
— Kyle Riesenbeck (@reverendkjr) March 8, 2023
The question is justified: In this case, shouldn't Meta be more consistent and commit to one brand? Because in the long run, having two only creates more confusion and ultimately hurts the product. Please stick with either Meta or Oculus, but not both at the same time.