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AMD Stock Jumps 10% on Monday, Propelled by Meta (Facebook) Deal

AMD on Monday made several major announcements covering different parts of its enterprise product roadmap. These included the 3rd Gen EPYC "Milan-X" processors with 3D Vertical Cache memory; Instinct MI200 CDNA2 compute accelerators, and announcements related to next-generation "Zen 4" based EPYC "Genoa" and "Bergamo" processors that come with core counts as high as 128. The company's stock rallied up to 12%, closing up 10%, which left many in the tech community scratching their heads. It turns out that the AMD-Meta deal has a profound impact on investors.

Meta, the holding company of Facebook covering all its businesses, aspires to be a major cloud solutions provider on par with Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. The deal could see Meta buying large stocks of AMD processors and compute accelerators to drive its next-gen server infrastructure. Sales of enterprise processors doubled year-over-year for AMD, and EPYC processors now account for 20% of the company's revenues.

Oculus Quest Headsets Won't Require a Facebook Account in 2022

Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced a rebrand of Facebook to Meta during the companies Connect 2021 AR/VR event. This change will involve the dissolution of the Oculus brand for hardware naming and will also introduce an arguably more significant change in that Oculus/Meta accounts will be disassociated with Facebook accounts removing the need for a Facebook account to use the headsets. This change has allegedly come about due to the negative connotations regarding the Facebook brand and to encourage new users who aren't interesting in creating a Facebook account. While these changes won't be fully implemented until 2022 some users have reported that Oculus support is able to unlink Facebook accounts immediately while retaining purchases and most non-social features on the headset.
Andrew BosworthAs we've focused more on work, and as we've heard feedback from the VR community more broadly, we're working on new ways to log into Quest that won't require a Facebook account, landing sometime next year. This is one of our highest priority areas of work internally.

Introducing Meta: A Social Technology Company

Today at Connect 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, which brings together Facebook's apps and technologies under one new company brand. Meta's focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.

The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today's online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can't be together — and do things together you couldn't do in the physical world. -It's the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it's ushering in a new chapter for the company. Zuckerberg shared more about this vision in a founder's letter.

Facebook Pauses Sales of Oculus Quest 2 Over Skin Irritation

Facebook has recently announced they have paused global sales of the Oculus Quest 2 while they work to include a silicon cover to supplement the original foam face pad. The original foam cover caused skin irritation for select users so Facebook has launched a voluntary recall of the cover in the US and Canada while they work to ensure that all new products will ship with the updated silicon cover. Facebook has received 5,716 reports of skin irritation where 45 cases required medical attention from 4.2 million units shipped in the US and Canada. Facebook will also introduce a new 128 GB model when the Oculus Quest 2 resumes sales on August 24th which will replace the original 64 GB model at the same 300 USD price.

Facebook Will Trial Showing Ads in Oculus Quest Games

Facebook has announced that it is working with developers to trial showing ads within Oculus Quest games. The adverts will initially appear in Blaston a paid bullet-hell game developed by Resolution Games with more games to be added in the coming weeks. Facebook will seek user feedback from the trial and may expand the program in an attempt to make the Oculus platform financially sustainable. This latest move comes after Facebook started testing ads in the Oculus mobile app last month to give developers a "new way to showcase their VR applications". Facebook has confirmed that the Oculus privacy and advertising policies will remain the same and that user movement will not be used to show targeted ads.

Analyst Expects New VR Headsets from Facebook, Sony, and Apple in 2022

Ming-Chi Kuo a renowned Apple analyst has recently predicted that we will see at least three new XR products from Facebook, Sony, and Apple in 2022. These predictions come from an analysis of recent lens orders from Taiwanese manufacturer Yujingguang by the three companies. Yujingguang is expected to supply the lenses used in the upcoming Oculus Quest 3, and PlayStation VR 2 along with being a "key-supplier" for Apple's headset. These new lenses will offer an increased field of view and improved image clarity over existing options. The company expects to supply 50% of the demand for Oculus Quest 3 equal to 22 million units while their exact supply for the devices from Sony and Apple is unknown.

Oculus Will Sell You a Quest 2 Without Facebook Integration for an Extra $400

When Oculus launched the Oculus Quest 2 at a record low price of just 299 USD for the base 64 GB model and 399 USD for the 256 GB model many people suspected Oculus was losing money on the device and was subsiding the loss with the introduction of mandatory Facebook account linking. These suspicions seem to have been confirmed with the launch of the Oculus Quest 2 business version for 799 USD which features identical hardware specifications to the consumer 256 GB version available for 399 USD. This 400 USD premium allows the device to be managed via enterprise software instead of with a linked Facebook account and will stop Oculus from sending your data to Facebook. The Quest 2 business version must be purchased from Oculus Business and also requires a yearly subscription of 180 USD after the first year for added business services and support.

GCP, AWS Projected to Become Main Drivers of Global Server Demand with 25-30% YoY Increase in Server Procurement, Says TrendForce

Thanks to their flexible pricing schemes and diverse service offerings, CSPs have been a direct, major driver of enterprise demand for cloud services, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. As such, the rise of CSPs have in turn brought about a gradual shift in the prevailing business model of server supply chains from sales of traditional branded servers (that is, server OEMs) to ODM Direct sales instead. Incidentally, the global public cloud market operates as an oligopoly dominated by North American companies including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which collectively possess an above-50% share in this market. More specifically, GCP and AWS are the most aggressive in their data center build-outs. Each of these two companies is expected to increase its server procurement by 25-30% YoY this year, followed closely by Azure.

Oculus Quest 2 Update Brings 120 Hz Support, Wireless PC streaming, Office Mode

Today we're announcing features that will begin rolling out soon in the v28 software update to Oculus Quest headsets. Oculus Air Link is a wireless way to play PC VR games on Quest 2, while new Infinite Office features make getting work done in VR even easier. We're also announcing native 120 Hz support for Quest 2 for an ultra-smooth gameplay experience.

Since launching in 2019 and exiting beta last year, Oculus Link has been a widely used feature across the Quest Platform. With a gaming PC and a compatible USB-C cable, Link has given people access to Rift's impressive content library, including games like Asgard's Wrath, Lone Echo, Stormland, and more. But of course, being tethered to your PC can break immersion and limit your mobility. We know gamers want to use Link without a wire—to experience the full freedom of movement offered by Quest 2 while playing the high-end titles that can only run on a gaming PC. That's why we've been working on a new streaming technology called Oculus Air Link—a completely wireless way to play PC VR content on Quest 2 using WiFi, built on the successful Oculus Link streaming pipeline.

Oculus Quest 2 May Be Receiving 120 Hz Refresh Rate Support In Upcoming Update

Facebook Reality Labs Vice President Andrew Bosworth has recently confirmed in a Q&A session that the Oculus Quest 2 is likely to receive 120 Hz refresh rate support via an upcoming software update. The original Oculus Quest shipped with a 72 Hz refresh rate and when the Quest 2 was released with a better screen this refresh rate was kept for compatibility reasons. Facebook has now made 90 Hz the default refresh rate on the Quest 2 after a period of testing and it seems that this could soon be increased to 120 Hz with the main concerns remaining being performance and battery life. Developers would have the option to target 72, 90, or 120 Hz for their games and applications to run at. The 120 Hz refresh rate would be most noticeable when playing desktop VR games via Oculus Link with a computer capable of high-fidelity VR.

Oculus Quest 2 Doubles Facebook Non-Advertising Revenue

Facebook has recently announced during their Q4 earnings call that the companies non-advertising revenue had risen to 885 million USD up 156% from 346 million USD in Q4 2019. This drastic increase in non-advertising revenue can be attributed to strong Oculus Quest 2 sales in the holiday quarter. The Oculus Quest 2 launched for 100 USD less than its predecessor while offering much more powerful hardware, however the headset does require a Facebook account to use. Facebook also confirmed that they are working on a successor to the Quest 2 which will be fully compatible with existing Quest titles.

VR: Oculus Quest 2 Preorders Reported as Being Five Times the Original

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in the company's latest earnings call that their bet on the Oculus purchase and its latest iteration, the Oculus Quest 2, has been developing nicely. The CEO reported that sales of the Oculus Quest 2 hardware have increased fivefold in relation to the original Quest. This is great news for the democratization of VR as whole, and can become the empowerment of a virtuous cycle: more VR users means a higher install base for companies to develop experiences for, and a higher number of high-quality experiences will definitely call more users to the ecosystem. On that note, some VR developers announced that since the Oculus Quest 2 release, they've seen between 800% and 1000% increase in sales.

The Oculus Quest 2 is available for a very palatable $299 - at least considering the historic pricing on VR headsets with the specs and quality this headset affords. Of course, the mandatory Facebook integration may be a hurdle for some users; until Facebook changes their mind on this (which, rest assured, they won't), users who are particularly suspicious of the company's intentions will have to wait for a comparable headset that features no such integration. Another alternative is to resort to other ways - arguably under the "Right to Repair" act - to free themselves from it.

VR - Less Facebook With My Oculus: Jailbreak Efforts Succeed in Freeing Oculus Quest 2 From Facebook Requirement

We've recently reported on how the Facebook account requirements that have been built-in into the latest Oculus Quest 2 could render your VR headset an expensive paperweight. The Oculus Quest 2 is one impressive piece of VR material, with the specs - and perhaps more importantly, pricing - to bring a high quality VR experience to the masses, democratizing what will someday - and without a doubt - the premier way in which we interface with the digital world. However, those same Facebook account requirements were standing in the way, for some privacy-conscious users, in actually buying or using the device. Now, jailbroken efforts have been met with success - researchers report that they've been able to strip an Oculus Quest 2 from its Facebook account requirement.

The effort, led by XRSI - a non-profit organization with the goal for promoting privacy and security in the XR space - has announced they have verified a jailbreak method for the Oculus Quest 2. This was done by achieving root access to the device. According to XRSI, there are a number of researchers and hobbyists alike working on these jailbreak procedures for the latest Oculus device, but they've been met with legal quandaries surrounding the Right to Repair (essentially, establishing the ownership of hardware and contained software by users once they acquire a technological device) and whether or not their efforts are covered under it. The efforts were somewhat bolstered by Mozilla WebXR developer Robert Long offering $5,000 to anyone capable of freeing the Quest 2 from Facebook services - an offer later matched by Palmer Luckey, Oculus' departed founder. XSRI is working hard to insert AR/VR headsets into the Right to Repair provision.

Facebook Launches Entry Level Cloud Game Streaming Service

Facebook has recently announced that their gaming platform has launched several cloud-streamed games playable in the Android Facebook app and through the web browser on PC. The service has been in a limited beta for some time with over 200,000 people trying it in limited regions. Facebook makes it clear that the new offering is not intended to compete with more enthusiast options and will instead focus on low-power games on mobile and web. Facebook intends to target the 380 million people who play games through Facebook every month with native integration of cloud games alongside HTML5 games.

The service is launching with several latency-tolerant games including Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur's Tale, and WWE SuperCard. Facebook won't be launching cloud games on iOS due to the uncertainty around the feature with Apple's current policies and the issues Microsoft has encountered trying to bring xCloud to Apple devices. Facebook Gaming cloud games are now available to try for customers across select US regions on the Facebook app for Android and on the web.

Deleting your Facebook Account Makes You Lose Ownership to Oculus Games

Last week we brought you a report on how you could end up with a paperweight of an Oculus Quest 2 VR HMD if your Facebook account linked to the headset is banned. There's another aspect to this mess—voluntary account deletion. What if you decided you no longer need your Facebook account, and for whatever reason (read: privacy), decided to delete your account"? Turns out, that all the Oculus games that you own, will be gone forever, according to CixLiv on Twitter, who took the time to actually read the ToS. Deleting your Facebook account, which is a step beyond deactivating it, is a permanent erasure of your data on Facebook, which means that your Oculus profile gets deleted alongside, along with your digital rights to all the games that you purchased.

Looking for a Paperweight? Buy an Oculus Quest 2 and Get Your Facebook Account Locked

We've all been there - we've all looked longingly at someone elses' flashy paperweight - an Escher puzzle, a coffee mug, a smartphone, a badly flashed GPU or even a face mask are all worthy contenders vying for our attention. Facebook, however, has been turning the paperweight game on its head, and in the real world too - some users who bought the most recent Quest 2 headset (which is apparently selling pretty well) are being given the opportunity to adorn their desks with this high-tech, low-key paperweight due to its Facebook-required integration. Essentially, users who have their Facebook accounts banned (or, more specifically, with pending verification) have been met with difficulties in actually using their Quest 2 (which, by all accounts, is a huge step forward for the VR space).

Oculus Quest 2 Exceeding Sales Expectations

In a recent interview with Chris Pruett, Facebook's Director of Content Ecosystem at Oculus it was revealed that the Oculus Quest 2 launch had been a huge success exceeding the companies expectations. Chris Pruett commented that the Oculus team "really couldn't be happier" with the launch and noted the headset was selling "faster than Quest did" and "maybe a little bit beyond what we expected". VR developers have been echoing these comments with Rec Room noting a 250% larger launch over the original Quest and a 10x increase in sales.

The data from Rec Room also shows that the majority of Oculus Quest 2 purchases are from people trying VR for the first time which is great news for the VR industry in general. Facebook has been able to keep up with the demand for the new headset which has evidently proven to be a great success even with controversy surrounding the Facebook account requirements.

Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform Commercially Debuts in Oculus Quest 2

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, is powering better-than-ever virtual reality (VR) gameplay and experiences with the launch of Oculus Quest 2, the first-to-launch VR device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform. Oculus Quest 2 is a culmination of years of collaboration between Qualcomm Technologies and Facebook to create the most advanced and immersive gaming VR experiences for consumers to-date.

Purpose-built for extended reality (XR), the Snapdragon XR2 Platform unlocks staggering improvements including twice the CPU and GPU performance compared to its predecessor which powers the original Oculus Quest headset. The Snapdragon XR2 Platform delivers significant performance enhancements in Oculus Quest 2 including:

Oculus Quest 2 Set To Feature Snapdragon XR2 Processor

In a recent video accidentally published on the Facebook Blueprint developer site and officially confirmed by the vice president of Facebook Labs details all the new features and changes found on the Oculus Quest 2. The leak confirms many of the existing rumors about the upcoming headset which is set to be announced later this week at Facebook Connect. The Oculus Quest 2 will feature the Snapdragon XR2 processor which has been specifically designed for AR/VR devices and should provide a significant performance increase over the Snapdragon 835 found in the original quest.

The Oculus Quest 2 will feature "nearly 2K Resolution per eye" which would put the total resolution at just under 4K possibly 3,840 x 2,160. The video did not mention if the display refresh rate would be increased from the 72Hz found on the original Quest but the XR2 platform can support up to 90Hz screens. The ram has been increased to 6 GB from the 4 GB found on the original and max storage has been expanded to 256 GB.

Facebook Technologies Stops Sales of Oculus VR Headset in Germany

Facebook Technologies, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc. and owner of Oculus, has today "temporarily" suspended sales of Oculus VR headsets in Germany. The news is coming today after Oculus announced that all of the new Oculus accounts have to move to the Facebook login system before January 1, 2023, when all of the current Oculus accounts will be suspended. The German data protection law is extremely suspicious of Facebook's behavior and how they handle user data in general, so Oculus has potentially decided to stop the sales to avoid any possible antitrust regulations from the German government. The exact reason is unknown, and it is yet to be revealed, however, the suspicions laid out here may be part of the reason.

EK Teases GeForce RTX 3000 Series Waterblocks At Launch

EK Waterblocks via Facebook teased availability of its custom-designed, custom-fitting watercooling solutions for NVIDIA's RTX 3000 series. Usually, users have to wait for a while before aftermarket cooling solutions become available for the latest and greatest; but apparently, not anymore. In response to a user question on Twitter on whether the company would have 3000 series blocks available on launch day, the official EK handle answered that "we'll have some things ready at or close to launch".

This is surely good news from users who have the economic power to go after NVIDIA's halo products (which, if reports are correct for this graphics card generation's costs, are bound for a significant upwards movement). Especially considering the most recent leaks painting the RTX 3090 as quite the three-slot behemoth.

Have Some Facebook With Your VR: Facebook and Oculus Integration to Become Mandatory

Back in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion, then Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey said that the acquisition was made with respect for the Oculus ecosystem as a whole, and that its management would be akin to that of a private entity that just so happened to be under Facebook's umbrella. Fast forward to 2020, though, and that seems to no longer be the case. Facebook has announced that Oculus accounts will be phased out; come this fall, all new Oculus accounts will have to go through a Facebook one - if you are one of the holdouts from that particular social network, you'll just have to bit the bullet.

The transition will be gradual; starting this October, new accounts will have to be linked through Facebook. Existing standalone Oculus accounts will still be supported; however, they will only be grandfathered until 2023. According to Facebook, they'll still allow users to run their content on these accounts; but any new apps and content that's acquired for the system after then will not be available for usage in such scenarios. Facebook further said that some content might stop working by then, due to integration of some applications' backends with Facebook-bound accounts, capabilities and servers. And thus, Facebook will finally be fully integrated with Oculus, ensuring a new ecosystem of users, and thus, new data on which to base their publicity and marketing efforts. It's all about the value a user brings; and perhaps some social network integration with your VR environments. Because nothing makes more sense than creating Facebook-bound communities in the VR space, and seeing a Like emote pop up on your most recent spaceflight maneuver.

Epic Online Services Launches with New Tools for Cross-Play and More

Epic Games today announces the launch of Epic Online Services, unlocking the ability to effortlessly scale games and unify player communities for all developers. First announced in December 2018, Epic Online Services are battle-tested and powered by the services built for Fortnite across seven major platforms (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android). Open to all developers, Epic Online Services is completely free and offers creators a single SDK to quickly and easily launch, operate, and scale their games across engines, stores, and platforms of their choice.

"At Epic, we believe in open, integrated platforms and in the future of gaming being a highly social and connected experience," said Chris Dyl, General Manager, Online Services, Epic Games. "Through Epic Online Services, we strive to help build a user-friendly ecosystem for both developers and players, where creators can benefit regardless of how they choose to build and publish their games, and where players can play games with their friends and enjoy the same quality experience regardless of the hardware they own."

Oculus Connect 7 to be Held as a Digital Event Later This Year

Every year, Oculus Connect brings together developers, content creators, marketers, and more to celebrate the VR industry's momentum and growth. In light of the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19, we've decided to shift Oculus Connect 7 to a digital format later this year.

This was a tough decision to make, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees, and everyone involved in OC7. Oculus Connect gives us an unprecedented opportunity to connect with our global developer community. OC7 will be no exception, and we look forward to sharing more details about the digital event in the coming months.

Game Developers Conference gets Postponed due to COVID-19 Concerns

Game Developers Conference is perhaps one of the biggest organizations in the gaming industry, covering everything from gaming hardware to games themselves. This year's GDC event was planned to happen on March 16th, however, due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, the GDC organization has decided to postpone the event. This doesn't mean that the conference will not happen at all. Instead, the GDC organizers plan to host the event sometime "later in the summer", when hopefully the COVID-19 concerns will settle. To add, Facebook also canceled its F8 Developer Conference, along with Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit which also got canceled due to virus outbreak fears.

Being that Computex is happening within three months, there are growing concerns that the event may not happen at all, however, we can hope that the situation will be resolved soon and that we can bring you live coverage of the event.
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