In an era full of giant tech companies eating up smaller tech companies, the Federal Trade Commission is actually trying to stop such an acquisition.
The FTC filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to stop Meta from acquiring VR developer Within, per The edge. Within is perhaps best known for developing Supernatural VR, a popular VR fitness app. The federal agency’s main accusation is that by buying Within, Meta would monopolize VR fitness, given that it already owns another of the most popular VR training games in beat the saber.
“Letting Meta acquire Supernatural would combine the creators of two of the most prominent VR fitness apps, eliminating the beneficial rivalry between Meta beat the saber app and Within’s Supernatural app,” the FTC complaint stated.
It’s no secret that Meta and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have a vested interest in dominating the VR space. The Quest 2 is unquestionably the most accessible and important consumer headset, and the idea of the “metaverse” itself has been closely associated with all things Meta and Facebook over the past year.
However, of course, Meta does not consider its tactic to be that of a monopoly. In a long statement posted on its website, the company defended itself against what it called a lawsuit based on “ideology and speculation.”
“The idea that this acquisition would lead to anti-competitive results in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible. Attacking this deal in a 3- 2, the FTC sends a chilling message to anyone looking to innovate in VR, and we believe our acquisition of Within will benefit people, developers, and the VR space.
Seeing the FTC oppose a tech acquisition like this has been pretty rare in recent years. In the last 12 months alone, other offers like Acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft and Sony’s absorption of Fate Bungie developer passed with less scrutiny from the FTC. However, one video game company buying another might not cross as many lines as the company behind the main VR hotspot buying multiple VR fitness properties.
Regardless of how this plays out, it’s probably not how Meta wanted this week to play out, with the trial only coming 24 hours after an inexplicable Quest Price Increase 2.