FTC wants to block Meta’s acquisition of VR app creator Within

Within and Meta logos

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to stop Meta’s purchase of popular VR applications creator Within. FTC claims Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is trying to buy its way to the top rather than competing for it.

Related: Meta’s Reality Labs loses $2.8 billion in Q2 2022

Meta —back then Facebook— acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion back in March 2014, and Big Tech has been investing aggressively in VR/AR technologies. Meta acquired quite a number of firms since then, connecting them all under its Reality Labs and Oculus Studio divisions.

FTC came after Meta in the past for the same reason, and the agency sued the tech company once again this week in order to stop its acquisition of Within. John Newman of FTC said Meta isn’t out there to compete with others and already owns a popular VR fitness app that is capable of competing with Within’s popular Supernatural app. Newman added that Meta’s decision to acquire Within is illegal since the company is trying to buy the market position, rather than earning it on merits, and it goes against US law.

A Meta spokesperson responded to FTC’s claim via TechCrunch, saying the following:

“The FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible. By attacking this deal in a 3-2 vote, the FTC is sending a chilling message to anyone who wishes to innovate in VR. We are confident that our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers and the VR space”

Neither Meta nor Within announced a price for the deal, but several sources said the purchase would be approximately around $400 million. The VR-focused company received multiple fundings in the past, totaling over $50 million.

There’s a rising interest in metaverse in the gaming world and gaming giants like Tencent are already making investments to join the extended reality market. Another China-based publishing giant NetEase invested in the Polish VR studio Something Random earlier this month.

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