The Federal Trade Commission is seeking an injunction in U.S. District Court to stop Mark Zuckerberg and Meta Platforms from buying fitness service Supernatural.
A partially redacted complaint alleges the acquisition announced last year was poised to close at the end of this month, but that it would “substantially lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly, in the relevant market for VR dedicated fitness apps.”
“Letting Meta acquire Supernatural would combine the makers of two of the most significant VR fitness apps, thereby eliminating beneficial rivalry between Meta’s Beat Saber app and Within’s Supernatural app,” the complaint reads. “It is reasonably probable that Meta would have entered the VR dedicated fitness app market through alternative means absent this acquisition.”
The complaint recounts the significant list of other VR-related acquisitions by Meta after purchasing Beat Saber’s developer — including one we missed late last year of Wilson’s Heart developer Twisted Pixel.
- “In January 2020, Meta acquired Sanzaru games, maker of the fantasy Viking combat game Asgard’s Wrath.”
- “In May 2020, Meta acquired Ready at Dawn Studios, maker of Lone Echo II, a zero-gravity adventure game, and EchoVR, an online team-based sports game.”
- “In April 2021, Meta acquired Downpour Interactive, maker of Onward, a team-based first-person shooter.”
- “In May 2021, Meta acquired BigBox VR, maker of Population One, a multiplayer first-person arena shooter.”
- “In June 2021, Meta acquired Unit2 Games, the maker of Crayta, a collaborative platform that allows users to create and play their own games.”
- “In November 2021, Meta acquired Twisted Pixel, a studio that makes various games, including Path of the Warrior (a fighting game ), B-Team (a first person shooter), and Wilson’s Heart (a mystery noir thriller game).”
Meta “could build instead of buy within a reasonable period of time if it could not proceed with this acquisition,” the complaint reads. If the acquisition is allowed, “Meta would be one step closer to its ultimate goal of owning the entire ‘Metaverse.'”
Meta put up a blog post about the situation and, in a prepared statement, a Meta spokesperson shared the following with UploadVR:
“The FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible. By attacking this deal in a 3-2 vote, the FTC is sending a chilling message to anyone who wishes to innovate in VR. We are confident that our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers and the VR space.”
Article updated after publication with additional context.