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FTC files to block Meta from buying VR fitness studio

FTC files to block Meta from buying VR fitness studio

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a complaint to block Meta from acquiring the company behind virtual reality fitness app Supernatural. The FTC claims that Meta bought it to absorb competition in the fitness market, where it already owned similar app Beat Saber. The complaint follows months of speculation that regulators may interfere with Meta's growing dominance of the consumer VR market, as well as an FTC investigation reportedly opened in December of 2021.

"In recent years, Meta has set its sights on building and ultimately controlling VR 'metaverses,'" the FTC's complaint said. It alleges that Meta viewed Fitness as a "killer app" market that would help it dominate the nascent VR medium, and was threatening the dominance of its own similar app, Beat Saber, which it launched in 2019. had called. I had acquired it by buying a separate one. studio. "Allowing Meta to acquire Supernatural would merge the makers of the two most important VR fitness apps, ending a beneficial rivalry between Meta's Beat Saber app and Inside's Supernatural app," the complaint said.

In the complaint, Meta has taken a number of steps to acquire VR Studio and consolidate its dominance in VR. The company "has become a major player at every level of the VR ecosystem: in hardware with the Meta Quest 2 headset, in app distribution with the Quest Store, and in apps featuring Beat Saber and many other popular titles," it says. The complaint states that Mark Zuckerberg is very serious about VR and the Metaverse:

“Mr. Zuckerberg has made it clear that his aspiration for the VR space is to take control of the entire ecosystem. In early 2015, Mr. Zuckerberg instructed key Facebook executives to plan their “next wave of computing” The vision is about apps and control was over the platform on which those apps were distributed, making it clear in an internal email to key Facebook executives that a key part of this strategy was a 'killer' for their company. It had to be 'completely ubiquitous' in apps.

The focus on fitness could help the FTC define a market where it can successfully argue that Meta is creating a monopoly -- avoiding the problems that are making the more general case against Meta's acquisition of Instagram. “Beat Saber and Supernatural compete in the highly focused VR fitness app market,” the complaint notes.

Meta denied The Verge's claims. Spokesperson Stephen Peters said, "The FTC's case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. The idea that this acquisition will lead to anti-competitive consequences in a dynamic space with as much penetration and growth as online and connected fitness is simply credible." Not there." in a statement. “By attacking the deal by a 3-2 vote, the FTC is sending a cold message to anyone who wants to innovate in VR. We believe the acquisition within us will be good for the people, developers, and the VR space.”

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