Meta excludes German users from its metaverse

Shutterstock/Rafapress

Shutterstock/Rafapress

There has been a halt in sales of VR glasses from the Meta Group in Germany since 2020. This should also apply to the new, expected Meta Quest Pro. The reason for this is the concerns of the Bundeskartellamt regarding the supremacy of the metagroup in the metaverse.

If you believe the technology augurs well, the new Meta Quest Pro virtual reality headset will be a success: easy to wear, unique quality – a real game changer and a milestone on the road to widespread acceptance of the Metaverse. But not in Germany.

Because according to a report from the “Handelsblatt”, Meta will not deliver the new VR glasses in Germany. In 2020, Facebook’s parent company stopped selling VR devices in Germany in response to abuse proceedings by the Federal Cartel Office – and the new miracle glasses are also expected to be affected.

The reason for Cartel Bureau chief Andreas Mundt’s concerns is that each pair of Quest glasses requires a Facebook account, without which the owner cannot reasonably use them. Mundt said in 2020, “This linking of virtual reality products to the group’s social network could constitute a prohibited abuse of dominance by Facebook.”

Firm position of the Bureau du Cartel

This tough attitude is surprising, because Apple also requires an Apple account from every iPhone buyer, and without a Google account, an Android smartphone isn’t much fun. On the other hand, Facebook has a special leading position in VR headsets. Since acquiring VR technology leader Oculus in 2014, Meta’s lead over the competition has grown. Experts estimate that Meta VR glasses now hold an 80% global market share.

According to Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg, his vision for the Metaverse will be a virtual world, the use of which requires VR glasses. By stopping the sale of Quest glasses in Germany, Zuckerberg is deliberately blocking German customers from his version of the Metaverse.

Glasses from other EU countries?

It remains to be seen to what extent this halt in sales will have a lasting impact on the spread of the Metaverse. Until the abuse lawsuit against Facebook extends across the EU, customers who don’t mind linking the glasses to the account should have no major problems getting the coveted part from a dealer in other European countries. It’s also debatable whether Meta will only open its Metaverse offerings to users who have purchased its own hardware – as Apple does – or whether the Meta-Metaverse is open to anyone with a VR device. It would be a path we would expect from Google and Amazon.

The deciding factor will be where the revenue streams that fund the metaverse will come from. An Appe-like walled garden would rely more on proceeds from hardware sales and membership fees, an open model would be driven more by advertising revenue and sales commissions.

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