If you’re an early buyer of the Oculus Quest or Oculus Rift S headset, you may get a hidden message in your motion controllers. Oculus executive Nate Mitchell tweeted today that the phrases “This Space For Rent” and “The Masons Were Here” had been printed on components for “tens of thousands” of Touch controllers. The Easter eggs were only supposed to appear on prototypes, but Mitchell says they “accidentally made it onto the internal hardware for tens of thousands of Touch controllers.”
“While I appreciate Easter eggs, these were inappropriate and should have been removed. The integrity and functionality of the hardware were not compromised, and we’ve fixed our process so this won’t happen again,” Mitchell tweeted. He added that a small number of development kits included the messages “Big Brother is Watching” or “Hi iFixit! We See You!” — referring to the prominent hardware repair site. These supposedly don’t appear in any consumer devices.
The messages on final production hardware say “This Space For Rent” & “ The Masons Were Here. ” A few dev kits shipped with “ Big Brother is Watching ” and “Hi iFixit! We See You! ” but those were limited to non-consumer units. [2/3] pic.twitter.com/po1qyQ10Um
— Nate Mitchell (@natemitchell) April 12, 2019
Business Insider reported on the tweets earlier today, but outside of Mitchell’s apology, this is the first we’ve heard of the messages. And a spokesperson from Oculus parent company Facebook confirmed that he’s talking about controllers for the upcoming Quest and Rift S — not the original Touch controllers that shipped in 2016. Those new headsets are supposed to come out within the next month, and Oculus apparently discovered the messages once they’d already been incorporated into some consumer hardware.
Facebook is constantly fighting accusations of spying on its users, so including secret conspiratorial messages inside a hardware product is probably not the greatest idea. But it’s distinctly one of the funnier and more innocuous things that a Facebook executive has apologized for lately.