Facebook Stops Selling Quest and Rift Headsets in Germany
Facebook has recently popped up several times in the news cycle, most notably for announcing that it would require Facebook accounts on Oculus devices as soon as 2023. Roughly a week later, Facebook has now stopped all Oculus VR headset sales in Germany in the first confrontation between the social media giant and antitrust laws around the world.
Germany is well-known for taking antitrust issues seriously, and Facebook lost another case there earlier in 2020. It's unclear whether this is a short-term pause or a sign of upcoming legal battles that could make it difficult for Facebook to resume sales in the near future.
Of course, Facebook itself claims that this is just a minor setback. In a statement given to Gamesindustry.biz, a company spokesman wrote that "We are temporarily pausing the sale of Oculus devices to consumers in Germany. We will continue supporting users who already own an Oculus device and we're looking forward to resuming sales in Germany soon."
On the other hand, German-language publication Heise Online received a statement from the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information that paints a very different picture. That statement partially reads: "the obligation to create a Facebook account is legally extremely questionable, at least for those who have already bought a headset. Whether this also applies to new customers is definitely a matter of debate. That should largely depend on the design of the contract, which we do not have."
With that in mind, there seems to be a possibility that Facebook will be forced to adjust its policy, at least in Germany and other countries with strong antitrust regulations. We'll continue updating this story as Facebook pushes for the right to require Oculus owners to sign in through the social media platform.