FTC filed suit against Meta to stop its purchase of Within, a VR fitness app maker. The agency is also concerned by Meta’s plans to create a budding metaverse. Meta’s plans to buy VR app maker Within may be foiled by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who today sued the company for halting the acquisition.
Facebook’s parent company is also Instagram. Meta is pushing hard towards the future metaverse . The FTC believes that Meta’s acquisition of Within is another step towards controlling it completely. According to the filing, Meta would be “one step closer” to achieving its ultimate goal of controlling the entire “metaverse.”
To stop the company from buying Within, the VR game creator behind Supernatural, the FTC sued Meta Platforms in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
Meta, the company that makes the Quest 2 headset (formerly Oculus Quest 2) announced the plan to purchase the Quest 2 headset in an deal. The Information was valued at over $400 million. According to the firm, the closing date was moved to August 1 in order to accommodate the FTC.
An announcement today. The agency claimed that Meta is trying to suppress VR fitness competition from independent studios. It did this by buying the studio that developed the best app in the area. The commission voted 3-1 in favor of bringing suit to stop the deal.
According to the FTC, the acquisition would “[dampen] future innovations and competitive rivalry”, which is in violation of antitrust laws. Meta also owns Beat Games, the maker of popular VR game Beat Saber. This app is often used for fitness. The FTC also claimed that having both studios in one place would hinder innovation.
The FTC filing goes beyond VR and into the larger realm of metaverse which Meta is working towards. It changed its name last fall from Facebook.
Some see the metaverse as an evolution of the internet, where users can interact in 3D spaces that overlap using avatars. Meta is actively pushing for this space, but it’s not clear if the firm will use HTML3 technology such as NFTs or cryptocurrency, just like the builders in the blockchain space.
Meta plans to create a centralized walled garden instead of an interoperable metaverse. This is according to prominent builders in crypto. In an interview with decrypt last autumn, Yat Siu (founder and executive chairman) of metaverse investor Animoca Brands called the firm a “threat” .
A statement Meta refuted the Commission’s claims. It suggested that the acquisition would “inject additional investment into the VR health space,” and also denied that Beat Saber and Supernatural are comparable experiences. The FTC’s accusations regarding the firm’s plans for the metaverse were not addressed by the firm.
Nikhil Shanbhag (Meta VP and associate general counsel for competition and regulatory) stated that the FTC’s case was based on speculation and ideology, not evidence. “The notion that this acquisition would result in anticompetitive outcomes within a dynamic space with as many entry and growth opportunities as online and connected exercise is simply not plausible.”