Oculus service resumes after outage hits Facebook services - Glasses reflecting Facebook logo 1

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VRWorldTech is interested in hearing from VR game developers and publishers about the outage and the impact it had on the Oculus platform

Quick read

➨ Facebook’s social media platform and many of the services it owns, including Oculus, WhatsApp and Instagram, went offline for several hours yesterday
➨ Users of Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014, reported being unable to access their Oculus library of games
➨ The outage spreading to Oculus is inviting questions about the decision to link Oculus Quest headsets to a Facebook account

The story

Oculus headset owners appear to be able to access their virtual reality (VR) games again after the outage that took down Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram yesterday was resolved.

Facebook’s social media platform and many of the services it owns, including Oculus, WhatsApp and Instagram, went offline for several hours yesterday due to a “disruption to network traffic” brought about by a “a faulty configuration change”.

Users of Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014, reported being unable to access their Oculus library of games. For anyone using their Quest or Quest 2 exclusively for Oculus-hosted content, this effectively bricked their headset.

The Oculus team tweeted during the outage: “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Approximately seven hours later, when service was restored, Oculus confirmed: “We’re coming back online now. Thanks for bearing with us!”

Here is the Facebook statement in full, issued once services were restored: “To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by today’s outage across our platforms. We’ve been working as hard as we can to restore access, and our systems are now back up and running. The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many of the internal tools and systems we use in our day-to-day operations, complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem.”

“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”

“People and businesses around the world rely on us everyday to stay connected. We understand the impact outages like these have on people’s lives, and our responsibility to keep people informed about disruptions to our services. We apologize to all those affected, and we’re working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient.”

The outage spreading to Oculus is inviting questions about the decision to link Oculus Quest headsets to a Facebook account, which was already controversial among VR users.

What was effectively one of Facebook’s worst ever outages also invites questions about its role as one of the biggest internet companies.

Huge numbers of people rely on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram for communication and businesses, meaning any outage has serious consequences for their daily lives and livelihoods.

For Oculus game developers and publishers, the VR platform is a vital source of revenue. In February, Facebook announced that more than 60 games available for Oculus Quest and Quest 2 made more than $1 million since the start of 2020.

VRWorldTech is interested in hearing from VR game developers and publishers about the outage and the impact it had on the Oculus platform. Get in touch with me via editor@vrworldtech.com to share your thoughts in confidence.

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Image credit: Canva

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