The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and multiple states are investigating Meta’s virtual reality unit Oculus over potential anti-competitive practices. Bloomberg reports: The FTC and a group of states led by New York have quizzed outside developers that make Oculus apps in recent months as part of the inquiry, the people said. The officials have been scrutinizing how Meta, the world’s largest social media company, may be using its market power in the VR space to stifle competition, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. In interviews with several developers, the antitrust enforcers asked how the Oculus app store may be discriminating against third parties that sell apps that compete with Meta’s own software. They were also curious about Meta’s sales strategy for the Oculus VR headset and how the price of the company’s device undercuts competitors. Meta sells the Oculus Quest 2 headset for $299, well below some models from HTC Corp. and others.
The FTC and states including New York, Tennessee and North Carolina began reaching out to developers concerned about Oculus-related antitrust issues last year, one of the people said. […] Developers have complained that Meta uses its market power to thwart companies that offer competing games and services on Oculus. They allege the company copies the most promising ideas and makes it harder for some apps to work properly on the platform. […] The antitrust scrutiny could complicate Meta’s plans to build out what Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg calls the metaverse — immersive digital worlds accessed through virtual and augmented reality-powered devices. Zuckerberg has said he thinks the devices will become the next major computing platform for human communication, after mobile phones, eventually replacing some in-person interactions.