Meta is back in VR business in Germany

Meta is back in VR business in Germany

Meta has responded to the concerns of the German Federal Cartel Office: After two years, Meta’s Quest VR headsets are now coming back to Germany.

Meta Quest 2 is set to hit the German market later this year, with the Quest Pro to follow as soon as possible, according to a company spokesperson. The company’s successful VR headsets were not available in Germany until now because Meta voluntarily stopped selling them.

Meta cited an investigation by the German Federal Cartel Office, which began in December 2020, as the reason. The investigation was about the linking of Meta’s VR offering (Oculus Quest, Quest 2) with the Facebook social network.

Meta meets German competition authority requirements with the Meta account

“In these proceedings, the Bundeskartellamt has not yet decided or given Meta any specific legal requirements,” German competition authority spokesman Kay Weidner said as recently as October. The sales strategy for Germany to date is therefore based solely on Meta’s decision.

Weidner said it is welcome that Meta is enabling the use of VR products without a Facebook connection via the recently introduced Meta Account. According to Weidner, the company is in talks about the specific modalities of this registration process.

Less than a month later, the initial results of the talks are now on the table: “Meta has responded to our concerns and offered a solution by setting up a separate Meta account for the use of Quest headsets,” said Andreas Mundt, president of the German Federal Cartel Office. The office confirmed that at no point did it impose a sales stop against Meta.

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Meta Quest will soon be sold in Germany, but the process continues

With the adjustments made, especially the Meta account, the company thus seems to have met the basic requirements of the Federal Cartel Office and to have ended its previously self-imposed abstinence from the German market.

But the proceedings do not end there: “Despite this welcome development, we are not concluding the proceedings today. We first want to continue to monitor the actual design of the choices available to users, as well as issues relating to the merging and processing of user data from the various Meta services,” said Mundt.

The German competition authority sees Meta’s concession as a success for its effectiveness on digital corporations: “This case clarifies that Section 19a GWB, the new instrument for more effective supervision of digital corporations, can be used to specifically address competition problems in practice.”

It is not yet clear when exactly the Quest products will be available in Germany.

Sources: Bundeskartellamt, Heise