VR developer sues Meta for more than $350 million
- New sources added
Update from October 19, 2023:
On Twitter, Elijah describes his version of the story.
On the Quest platform, nobody is safe.
I moved my life and family to LA for Meta.
They violated our contract behind closed doors, then expected me to be quiet.
I sued them. This is the story. 👇 pic.twitter.com/qLiLj4VQKP
— ANDRÉ ΞLIJAH (@AndreElijah) October 18, 2023
More background and the full interview with Andre Elijah can be found on UploadVR (the link is provided with the sources at the end of the article).
Original article from October 13, 2023:
VR developer Andre Elijah is suing Meta. The company allegedly canceled his VR app shortly before launch.
Elijah created a virtual reality yoga app called AEI Fitness for Meta Quest, with avatars of top instructors teaching VR users Yoga poses as well as Pilates and mindfulness, Bloomberg reports.
Elijah claims that Meta killed the VR app shortly before its release and blacklisted him. The developer claims, this happened because Meta learned that Elijah had talked with competitors Apple and Pico to launch on their VR platforms.
The app was supposed to be unveiled at Meta Connect 2023 with a trailer. Elijah says the conference would have propelled it to the top of the VR fitness app market, eventually reaping him tens of millions of dollars. According to the lawsuit, Meta has already paid Elijah $1.5 million. The developer is now seeking $3.2 million more in the near term, and hundreds of millions in lost revenue and damages.
What happened cannot be independently verified at this time. The Bloomberg article only gives Elijah's view, Meta has not yet commented on Bloomberg's report.
With great power comes great responsibility
Elijah is not the first developer to accuse Meta of unfair business practices and abuse of power.
Virtual desktop developer Guy Godin accused Meta of banning a key feature of its VR app from the Quest Store because it was working on its own similar solution. 20 months later, it reversed that decision. But this was just weeks before launching its own wireless PC VR streaming feature.
Similar allegations have been made by the developer of the former Quest fitness tracker YUR, who took to Twitter to speak out about Elijah's case.
1/ Meta continues to screw 3rd party devs in the VR space.
This time, it's to a dear friend of mine.
Meta gave a multi-million dollar contract, then pulled it destroying an entire studio after the Supernatural deal with the @FTC was approved.
This is the tip of the iceberg ? pic.twitter.com/mgIzNk9CwR
- CIX (@CixLiv) October 11, 2023
Meta currently has a quasi-monopoly on the VR market with Meta Quest. There is currently far less money to be made from VR apps on competing platforms such as the Pico Store and Steam, making developers dependent on Meta's goodwill. Exclusion from Meta's VR ecosystem would spell the end for many VR studios, making them more obedient as a result.