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US competition authority blocks Meta's VR expansion


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Meta is pausing the acquisition of Within until January 1st 2022 or pending a court decision.

The US competition authority FTC wants to prevent Meta from launching a second VR fitness program after Beat Saber with Supernatural App purchases and potentially dominates the market for VR fitness apps.

In October 2021 Meta put the fitness app Supernatural in the shopping cart. The acquisition price is said to be 376 million US dollars. But the group is not allowed to checkout for the time being: The US competition authority FTC is filing a lawsuit with the aim of preventing the takeover.

“Meta buys his way to the top”

Already at the end of December 2021 it became known that the deal was under review by the FTC is and is blocked. Meta bought five very successful VR studios in the last two years, including Beat Games, the studio behind VR hit Beat Saber.

The FTC’s criticism of this expansion strategy is clear . “Rather than stay ahead of the competition, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” says John Newman, associate director of the Office of Competition.

Meta wants its supremacy in the Buy market rather than earn them through performance, according to Newman. The takeover is illegal

) and the FTC is taking “all appropriate measures” to prevent them.

Supernatural takeover: It could still be quick

The FTC is suing Meta and asking a federal court for a restraining order Order stopping the takeover. If the federal court does not grant this request, Meta could complete the acquisition by the end of the month.


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The FTC believes that Meta’s Supernatural acquisition would severely limit the market for VR fitness apps

or lead to a monopoly in this segment . The result is less innovation, lower quality, higher prices, less choice for consumers, and fewer incentives to hire and retain staff.

Meta, on the other hand, argues that the FTC based on ideology and speculation rather than evidence. The lawsuit is “a chilling message to anyone looking to innovate in VR.” Meta is confident that the acquisition will be “good for people, developers and the VR industry.”

Do not repeat social media mistakes: FTC observes Meta’s VR strategy

In January 2022 Bloomberg reported that the FTC is asking around in the industry and asking VR studios about Meta’s business practices. Meta also bought exclusive rights to the displays of the British manufacturer Plessey and in December ImagineOptix, which develops special lenses for tech glasses.

Quest 2’s pricing is also criticized: The VR -Glasses are massively cross-subsidized by money from the advertising business and are therefore offered by Meta below the prices of its competitors. The recently announced price increase for Quest 2 may be related to the FTC hearing.

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