• Daniyar Kylyzhov

Facebook stops shipping Oculus VR headsets to Germany due to antitrust concerns

In early September 2020, Facebook stopped new shipments of Oculus VR headsets to Germany for a while, and also removed the current models from its online store. This is a completely voluntary decision of the company and not the requirements of the country's authorities. Facebook hopes to first resolve potential antitrust issues and avoid heavy fines.

The reason Facebook stopped supplying Oculus to users in Germany is due to the company's possible violation of a clause of EU antitrust law. It states that the performance of the contract should not be dependent on the consent to provide and process personal data that is not needed for the performance of this contract. Facebook's actions also violate the general data protection regulation in the EU ( GDPR ), according to which customers of product A (Oculus) cannot be forced to use product B (Facebook).

Facebook plans to resolve this situation within a few months and resume sales of Oculus in Germany. The company declined to disclose details of this situation.

Facebook explained that the headsets previously purchased by German users will be fully functional. However, the company does not guarantee that Oculus headsets imported from other countries will function as expected after the current end of the sale. According to the company, German retailers have some stock of headsets left that they can sell without a ban. These Facebook actions do not apply to headsets that are distributed and used under the Oculus for Business program, since they have their own authorization system.

On August 18, 2020, Oculus announced on changes in the user authorization procedure for full access to all functions of the company's virtual reality devices. From the beginning of October 2020, mandatory authorization of all owners of VR headsets through Facebook is introduced. New users of Oculus devices will immediately need to sign in with their Facebook account. If the user already has an Oculus account and wants to register a new device, then he will have to do this through his Facebook account. Existing user accounts of Oculus and Facebook users will have to manually merge them themselves.

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