Just recently, Oculus gets an update that sees users requiring to have a Facebook account instead of the traditional Oculus account. That is, to personally gain access to their library of VR games. A move that has taken the notice of the German federal government, kicking off the country’s existing antitrust laws.
As per Heise.de, Facebook is withdrawing the Oculus products in Germany amid an “outstanding talks” with the German authorities.
“This is a temporary break due to outstanding talks with German supervisory authorities,” according to a Facebook spokesperson.
While, on the surface, the issue of Facebook making the move is due to the German government’s power to enact its laws, it is not so. The giant social media had voluntarily taken the step, without insinuation.
“We were not obliged to take this measure, but proactively interrupted the sale.”
To clarify the issue, the Oculus German website has updated its FAQ section expressing the situation to consumers.
“We have paused the sale of Oculus products in Germany due to pending discussions with German regulatory authorities.”
Expectedly, Oculus’ departure from one of Europe’s biggest markets is nothing but temporary. Citing the potential of its return soon after the issue is resolved.
“We cannot talk about details at the moment, but we are confident that sales can continue soon.”
The information provided did not go in-depth as to the real cause. However, Heise believes strongly that it has something to do with the German Republic’s consumer protection laws.
Particularly, the “coupling ban” which essentially forbids companies from selling a product or service to consumers aside from what they intend to buy. Put in context, the issue being Facebook forcing consumers to have a Facebook account when the interest is solely the VR product.
For its part, Facebook claims that its social media platform and VR service are the same. And, as such, is not violating any existing German law.
However, it can be recalled that Facebook was previously under hot water in Germany. Specifically, concerning an issue with the company merging data from both the German WhatsApp and Facebook without the user’s consent, subsequently leading to the German government to demand the social media company not to do so.
An asset of Facebook since 2014, Oculus VR studio, along with Portal and Spark AR, will belong to the Facebook Reality Labs beginning September 13, 2020.
Image used courtesy of geralt/Pixabay
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