A recent report from the US House of Representatives subcommittee on antitrust laws suggests that the requirement for all Quest 2 users to login via a Facebook account may be anticompetitive.
The Oculus Quest 2 is the first headset produced by Facebook that requires users to create an account on their social media site in order to set it up. The report states that, “conditioning access to a product or service in which a firm has market power to the use of a separate product or service is anticompetitive.”
The report, which clocks in at a terrify 449 pages, investigates the issues of competition in the digital market. The report looks at companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and yes, Facebook. The report only mentions VR a small number of times, but it does go into detail about the large acquisitions of that each company has made. This includes Facebook’s purchase of Oculus in 2014.
The report states,
“Facebook has also maintained and expanded its dominance through a series of acquisitions of companies it viewed as competitive threats, and selectively excluded competitors from using its platform to insulate itself from competitive pressure.
Facebook has also maintained its monopoly through a series of anticompetitive business practices. The company used its data advantage to create superior market intelligence to identify nascent competitive threats and then acquire, copy, or kill these firms. Once dominant, Facebook selectively enforced its platform policies based on whether it perceived other companies as competitive threats. In doing so, it advantaged its own services while weakening other firms.”
This has major implications for the future of the Oculus and developers, we have seen Facebook flex their considerable power over smaller developers. We have previously reported on the issues that the developer focused app store, Sidequest, has had in gaining purchase in the Oculus ecosystem, not to mention the side-lining of the VR steaming service, Bigscreen, by giving favourable terms to large companies like Fandango. With Facebook offering the most affordable headset on the market, we may see even more developers become disillusioned with the Oculus ecosystem and move on to greener pastures.