Parents furious with Facebook over Oculus account change
Parents furious with Facebook over Oculus account change
New Oculus Users Required to Use Facebook Account Starting in October, Existing Users by 2023
New Oculus Users Required to Use Facebook Account Starting in October, Existing Users by 2023
Highlights From Facebook Connect
Highlights From Facebook Connect
You’ll need a Facebook account to use future Oculus headsets
You’ll need a Facebook account to use future Oculus headsets
Facebook Accounts Using Fake Names, Among Other Violations, Risk Losing Access to Oculus Content
Facebook Accounts Using Fake Names, Among Other Violations, Risk Losing Access to Oculus Content
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Germany Opens Legal Action Against Facebook Account Requirement for Oculus Headsets

Today, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) announced it was initiating formal abuse proceedings against Facebook for its controversial policy of requiring new Oculus device owners to use a Facebook account. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the competent authority when it comes to regulating national competition, today announced that it’s opened an inquest to examine “the linkage between Oculus virtual reality products and the social network and Facebook platform.” Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office, says that since all new users of Oculus devices must also have a Facebook account, forcibly linking its VR products and its social network “could constitute a prohibited abuse of dominance by Facebook.”

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“With its social network Facebook holds a dominant position in Germany and is also already an important player in the emerging but growing VR (virtual reality) market,” said Mundt. “We intend to examine whether and to what extent this tying arrangement will affect competition in both areas of activity.” Back in September, Facebook halted sales of all Oculus products in Germany. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether it was the Federal Cartel Office or Facebook itself that initiated an anticipatory halt in sales ahead of litigation proceedings. This isn’t the first time Facebook has found itself in hot water in Germany, Europe’s largest economy. In early 2019, the Federal Cartel Office imposed extensive restrictions on Facebook regarding the processing of user data, and its role in creating so-called ‘super profiles’, which aim to collect and merge user data from its various products. Litigation is still pending in that country, however the next hearing is set for March 26th, 2021 at Düsseldorf’s Higher Regional Court.

The First Commercial VR Devices – The EyePhone Head-Mounted Displays. In the late 1960s, the virtual and augmented reality terms were coined, describing the field of technology we know today. This also encompassed the appearance of two of the very first commercial virtual reality devices in the 1980s in the face of the EyePhone 1 and the EyePhone HRX. Developed by VPL research, a company by Jaron Lanier, the devices were extremely expensive, costing as much as $9,400 for the 1 version and $49,000 for the HRX. Customers could also buy gloves that costed $9,000. While the devices didn’t really take off, which is understanding, having in mind their price, they were a major step forward in the development of virtual reality haptics and virtual reality goggles and head-mounted displays.

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Should a similar situation happen regarding Facebook’s VR devices in Germany, it’s very likely customers there won’t be able to directly buy Oculus headsets for some time. Customers in Germany are currently only capable of purchasing Oculus products from neighboring countries and importing them for personal use. In the meanwhile, Facebook is also now dealing with United States Federal Trade Commission, which announced yesterday that it had filed a lawsuit with the Washington, D.C. US District Court alleging similar anticompetitive practices, which would constitute an illegal monopoly on “personal social networking.”
A possible outcome of the suit could include spinning out Facebook’s larger social networking properties, Instagram and WhatsApp. Oculus wasn’t named directly the suit, however it’s clear the case’s outcome could have wide ranging repercussions for all of Facebook’s business segments.

Thanks goes out to MIXED(German) for pointing us to the news.

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Petition · Rollback the forced switch to Facebook accounts on the Oculus platform. · Change.org
Petition · Rollback the forced switch to Facebook accounts on the Oculus platform. · Change.org