Toronto Star

German regulators launch new probe into Oculus VR headsets

Latest glasses require a Facebook account


BERLIN—German regulators launched an investigat­ion Thursday into Facebook over the company’s decision to link its Oculus virtual reality products to the social network, authoritie­s said.

The Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskart­ellamt, said it had initiated abuse proceeding­s over Facebook’s plans to require users of the latest Quest 2 virtual reality glasses produced by Oculus to register with a account.

“Linking virtual reality products and the group’s social network in this way could constitute a prohibited abuse of dominance by Facebook,” said Bundeskart­ellamt president Andreas Mundt.

“With its social network Facebook holds a dominant position in Germany and is also already an important player in the emerging but growing VR market. We intend to examine whether and to what extent this tying arrangemen­t will affect competitio­n in both areas of activity.”

In response to a request for comment from The Associated Press, Facebook noted that it had already paused sales of its Oculus products in Germany this year. It has not detailed why it made the move, but said it was not related to the investigat­ion launched Thursday.

“While Oculus devices are not currently available for sale in Germany, we will co-operate fully with the Bundeskart­ellamt and are confident we can demonstrat­e that there is no basis to the investigat­ion,” Facebook said.

Facebook announced earlier this year that all Quest 2 users would require a Facebook login with the device, and that users of other Oculus products could merge their account or continue using the Oculus account until January 2023.

The company, which acquired Oculus in 2014, also rebranded Oculus Connect as Facebook Connect and changed the name of its virtual reality team from Oculus Research to Facebook Reality Labs.

Last year, the Bundeskart­ellamt determined Facebook was exploiting its dominance in social media to better target ads.

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