Fb account requirement for Oculus Quest 2 prompts antitrust investigation in Germany
Facebook officially launched its newest standalone VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2, back in September. The company surprisingly delivered significant performance improvements while lowering the price barrier for the base model by $ 100. This came with a limitation, however, as a Facebook account is now required to use the headset instead of a separate Oculus account.
This decision has now prompted the Federal Cartel Office to initiate an investigation into the connection between the Facebook social network and the Oculus platform. The regulator’s announcement (via Slashgear) cites concerns about the abuse of Facebook’s dominant position as a social network to infiltrate the VR market, which is still in its early stages. While the requirement currently only applies to new headsets, all Oculus devices will require it by January 2023.
This is not the Bundeskartellamt’s first investigation into Facebook, as the regulatory authority has also investigated the collection and use of data by the social network and has imposed restrictions on some of these activities. However, Facebook appealed to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court to prevent the measures from being adopted. A trial is currently scheduled for March 26th to make the final decision.
The requirement for a Facebook account sparked controversy from the start, and all the more so when it became known that if the linked Facebook account were locked or deleted by the user, all Oculus purchases would be lost. Of course, the investigation was only just announced and there is no telling what the end result will be, but customers who found this to be a problem may be happy to hear an investigation is taking place.
Facebook has no shortage of legal troubles as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently filed antitrust lawsuits against the company and requested the sale of its WhatsApp and Instagram divisions. Just like Oculus, these companies were acquired by Facebook over the same period, helping the company maintain a dominant position as a social network. Since a Facebook account is central to the Oculus experience, the company could try to do the same for social VR experiences as the technology becomes more widespread.