Federal Trade Commission sues to block Meta’s acquisition of VR company

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday sued to block Facebook parent company Meta from buying the maker of popular virtual reality games, arguing the purchase would stifle competition in the burgeoning industry.

The deal would give Meta control of Within, the maker of the popular VR workout game “Supernatural.” The lawsuit is emblematic of FTC Chair Lina Khan’s strategy to address deals in the fast-changing tech sector, following criticism that regulators have not been aggressive in limiting tech companies from building power by buying up their smaller rivals.

“That lessening of competition may result in reduced innovation, quality, and choice, less pressure to compete for the most talented app developers, and potentially higher prices for VR fitness apps,” the FTC argued in a legal complaint. “And Meta would be one step closer to its ultimate goal of owning the entire ‘Metaverse.’”

The complaint argues that Meta’s recent acquisitions have already allowed it to buy up “seven of the most successful VR development studios in the world.”

The lawsuit adds to Meta’s mounting regulatory challenges. In a separate, ongoing lawsuit refiled nearly a year ago, the FTC argued that Meta’s previous acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp allowed it to become dominant in social networking.

This is a breaking story and will be updated

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