Facebook has halted sales of all Oculus VR headsets in Germany, something the company says will be temporary during its ongoing talks with German regulators.

Update (11:35 AM ET): MIXED has obtained a statement (German) from the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) that refutes the claim that talks are currently ongoing on the subject of Oculus between Facebook and the country’s competent authority, putting all of this into an unclear light.

A Federal Cartel Office spokesperson told MIXED that Facebook’s stop in Oculus hardware sales in Germany would come “very surprisingly,” especially if it was done in anticipatory obedience.

This story is breaking. We’ll bring more updates as information unfolds.

Original Article (10:00 AM ET): “We’ve temporarily paused the sale of Oculus hardware to consumers in Germany due to pending discussions with the regulator [sic]. We hope to resume sales again in the future,” Facebook says in an FAQ provided to German publication MIXED.

“We know this is an inconvenience and we are actively working with German authorities to educate regulators on our practices and to ensure our products comply with local laws,” the FAQ states.

This comes on the heels of the company’s controversial move to both require valid Facebook accounts for all new Oculus users, as well as the beginning of a two-year grace period for all Oculus account users to connect to a valid Facebook account.

In 'Horizon' Facebook Can Invisibly Observe Users in Real-time to Spot Rule Violations

Germany tends to lead the way in antitrust legislation, and it seems Facebook is again finding themselves in the crosshairs there. Just last year, German antitrust regulators attempted to ban Facebook from combining data on users without their consent across its social media properties Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Although Facebook hasn’t confirmed this, it appears it’s in a similar situation with Oculus-to-Facebook account amalgamation.

Facebook says Germany-based users already in possession of an Oculus device can continue to use it normally. The company says since it’s not actively selling Oculus headsets in Germany, that newly imported devices may not work as intended.

“As a result of this temporary pause, we will not be replenishing stock with our retail partners in Germany. Headsets may be still be available with certain retailers. We hope to resume selling Oculus hardware to consumers in Germany soon,” the statement reads.

Germany-based users are still able to refund headsets, however no further warranty is being provided outside of the company’s standard 30-day money back guarantee.

Thanks also goes out to Sebastian Ang of MRTV for pointing us to the story.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Ad

    Fantastic. Regulators need to actually do something, and this will indicate to a lot of people what’s wrong and they can get a non Facebook headset.

    • Ryan

      Zuckerberg has even ASKED to be regulated.

      • Ad

        That’s not serious. It’s him wanting rules to be put in place that his lobbyists help write, so no new regulations get written for a generation. Basically he writes rules that are good for Facebook and bad for everyone else. Look at Germany, where they’re not allowing Facebook to share data between their apps. Zuckerberg definitely does not want that to be a regulation everywhere.

        • Ryan

          I think the fault lies as much with public apathy as with the corporations.

          • Ad

            Public apathy is intentionally fostered. Net neutrality had companies doing everything they could to make it boring and confusing for people, and it took massive work for people to get mobilized, and the corporations still won.

        • MeowMix

          Senate Bill S.2968. I suggest you look it up. It’s a very good first step that gives you RIGHTS over your data, and PENALTIES for data misuse. Many here will claim they want something done to rein in FB, yet many are ignorant of the proposed legislation to do so.

          • Ad

            The German rules look great. I’ll look at this but there’s so little hope for good regulation in America. And it only affects some of facebook’s issues, we need anti trust legislation as well. And I’m sure you know about issues with regulatory capture, which made me skeptical of his claims.

    • jimmy

      non facebook vr either sucks or are extremely expensive so no they cant

      • Ad

        What are you talking about? Facebook devices are cut down and worse. The new Reverb is 600 sure, but it gives you way way more than a Rift S, and I see way too many people trying to use a Quest with Link when they could have had a much better experience with any PC headset.

        • Hokhmah

          Still be realistic there. Quest is the best standalone VR headset at present (price/hardware ratio, software and games). Also have the best Inside-Out tracking.

          The whole story is like Microsoft and telemetry or the whole Windows + IE. Company and government/regulators will both show a little bit of muscles but in the end they will go for compromises cause economy and stuff (and both lose if they won’t find a solution). FB can of course go all the way and boycott selling their stuff in the EU, but I don’t think investors/shareholders will be very happy about it, especially since VR is a slowly but growing market.

          • Ad

            VR is much smaller and there are competitors for AR which is all anyone cares about so the EU doesn’t have to care.

            Don’t get standalone, either get PCVR, PSVR, or wait until VR is actually useful for you.

      • brandon9271

        I bought a Samsung Odyssey and my Oculus stuff has been collecting dust for a year or more. If I were to buy anything it would be the new Reverb and maybe add SteamVR bases and knuckles at a later date. I kickstarted DK1 but Oculus is dead to me.

    • Trekkie

      So why dont you start paying to use FB instead of freeloading? No shame?

      • Ad

        Not freeloading when you’re the product. No chicken needs to thank the farmer for feeding him.

        • Trekkie

          Thats your choice. You voluntarily offered yourself as a product. You know they show targeted ads.

          Nothing comes for free. Software development, servers, hosting bandwidth etc cost billions for FB. You know this. Dont lie.

          You voluntarily decided to upload your data on a public forum, your FB wall. You wanted others to see you. That was the idea when you posted stuff.

          Above all you yourself found FB to be the best and hence opened an account. Zuckerberg did not force you. You made that decision. Dont like it? Leave.

          So stop whining and complaining. You ate your free lunch.

          • Ad

            It’s a monopoly bootlicker, Supreme Court already said your argument is invalid.

          • Trekkie

            Nope arselicker. There is no such judgement from any court. You are delusion. Envy does that to your brain.

            FB is just very good at what they do. Like Amazon. Cant live without them.

            But in time others will supersede them. Those that offer something new. Like how Google replaced Yahoo. Clearly no monopolistic behavior here. All in your stupid head.

          • Ad

            If it is a monopoly then your argument about people consenting is nonsense. I say it is and unless a court decides otherwise you can’t shut it down like that. Germany is taking action, as they should.

          • Trekkie

            You are a child molester…. unless a court decides otherwise….

            See the idiocy of your statement ?

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    GOOD. Evil Zuck must be stopped from spying on VR users.

    • jimmy

      he is not doing that more than google is spying on you

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        There’s a BIg difference. Google allows user to use their services through encrypted VPN, FB doesn’t. You can hide from Google, but you can’t hide from Zuck if you’re using FB.

        • Trekkie

          Then dont use FB.

    • Trekkie

      Them make your own headset. If not shut up.

  • I think every country needs to do similarly.

  • TechPassion

    Good move by Germany. Other countries should follow. It is a scandal what Facebook wants to do.

    • jimmy

      no its not

  • johann jensson

    Haha, well deserved, Facebook. And even better, due to low / no availability, i can sell my Rift S second hand for a great price, before i get my Reverb G2. It turns out 2020 will be a nice year, after all. []-)

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      The problem with “well deserved” is that this is Facebook stopping the sale, not Germany asking them too. They anticipate getting in trouble for the forced connection of existing Oculus devices and Facebook accounts. And instead of backing down and allowing users to keep things separate, they are willing to cut of the whole country.

      Germany has a number of data protection officer that are independent from the government, so they can be strict without political pressure, which is good. But many German VR developers working on Quest projects that are neither games nor targeting Oculus for Business could be in serious trouble if this isn’t resolved soon and their customers cannot procure the needed devices to run the applications. Facebook could easily afford to ignore/boycott the German VR market for years to enforce the Facebook account requirement everywhere else.

      • Hokhmah

        Germany yes, but the whole EU … This is about GDPR rules/laws and this applies to all EU nations.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Yes, but in the past Germany has been more aggressive than other EU countries in pushing companies to comply with data privacy rules. This hasn’t happened yet, and Facebook might want to exploit this. Even though the GDRP applies to all countries, each country will only complain if the rules are broken in their own territory. If courts decide that the rules were actually broken, the company has to change it everywhere in the EU.

          By not selling in Germany, Facebook can prevent German data protection officers to even start a formal investigation, simply because the product isn’t even available in the country. So Facebook can introduce the Quest lite/S/2 all over Europe with the new TOS requiring a Facebook account (at some time) and create a precedence. It would be worse for them if Germany interfered with their new Quest introduction, so they temporarily removed any legal reason that could cause Germany to block the introduction of the new TOS.

          Legally it should make little difference, but in reality different countries in the EU interpret or apply the EU wide laws not always in the same way, so blocking one country that has a special interest in one area can actually work out.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    How is this different from when you buy an iPhone where you’re required to have an Apple account if you want to actually use it. Or any other device where you have to create an account with the manufacturer to get the device working?

    • Jistuce

      Rift and Quest owner here. We DID create an account with the manufacturer.

      I have an Oculus account, and now Facebook is telling me I need to link that account to another unrelated account.

      It is more like if Sony told me that to continue using my Playstation I would have to link my existing PSN account to a Sony Pictures account. (Though I can also use my Playstation without registering with the manufacturer at all)

      Also, Apple is a lot less ban-happy and stalkerish than Facebook, so there’s that difference too.

      • jimmy

        there is no difference facebook own oculus they decide what to do if you not happy you take the door

        • Jistuce

          And if they’re going to change the rules after I join the party and institute draconian anti-user policies, then yes I WILL take the door. There is no world in which “you are the manufacturer’s bitch and they can do anything they want” is acceptable.

          So thank you for your excellent advice, though it merely reiterates a decision I had already arrived at on my own.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Not really, for the Rift and Quest you don’t have to link your Oculus account (YET) to a facebookaccount, but for the new headsets you will, as Facebook IS the manufacturer and Oculus is deprecated..

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The trouble they are expecting is most likely about the “deprecation”, because they do not deprecate the devices, only the use of the device without a Facebook account, which they didn’t announce before selling them. Legally it would be okay to not support the Rift anymore after 2022, as they never guaranteed long term support.

          By making further support dependent on a Facebook account, they are forcing existing users to give up more data, which is a big NoNo under European data protection laws for things that are sold for a one time fee. It would be different it the Rift required e.g. a subscription, as you pay only for the actual usage, while customers assume that future usage costs are included in a one time price payed upfront.

          In the end this will be mostly a job for lawyers, it is very unlikely that Facebook will back down. They might add an extra opt-out for a reduced support (e.g. you can still buy software, as long as it contains no social functions) for the EU that almost nobody will use, but which will make the Facebook TOS compliant with European laws. The TOS would make this opt-out dependent on “if local laws require data separation”, so US users wouldn’t even get the option to choose the reduced support version.

        • Jistuce

          “Yet” is the key word. They’ve made it clear that they expect existing owners to comply with this edict as well.

          It is actually unclear to me at present if, as a pre-existing customer, I would need to set up a Facebook account to activate a new device. But I assume the answer is yes, and also assume it extends to replacement controllers as well as new headsets.

          Of course, my Rift is on borrowed time anyways since the cable is proprietary, prone to failure, and unavailable anywhere.

    • Granted it’s still too early to tell how Facebook and its policies will evolve over time, but the main difference comes down to their business model. Apple is creating devices and services that you, more or less directly pay for. Facebook offloads your costs by mining your personal information as a commodity for advertisers. This has led to some pretty terrible exploitation of its user base directly and indirectly through their ad partners.

      It was possible that Oculus could have been an opportunity for Facebook to shift to a more consumer focused model, but the requirement of a Facebook account and the aggressive under-pricing of Quest suggests they want to maintain their current path and recoup those costs through their vast advertiser network.

      What this ultimately means for all of us is still pretty unknown, but considering the metaverse might hang in the balance, we all need to consider how we want that future place to function and who we want setting the rules before we lose the power to meaningfully change things.

      • Trekkie

        So you ready to pay for operating your FB account instead of freeloading like you are doing now ?? Shameless.

        • No one is freeloading on Facebook, my friend. The currency is just our mental health and free time.
          And maybe there’s a bigger statement in there about the internet in general. x)

          • Trekkie

            Then dont use FB if its affects your mental health. No one is forcing you to use it.

    • Marian

      Because we already had Oculus accounts. And also because of Facebook is not trustworthy at all. And their policy regarding accounts sucks. Just check this new Reddit post and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/OculusQuest/comments/ilwpri/made_a_facebook_account_for_oculus_and_got/

  • Farnborough

    Love, kiss and hug you, Germany! Have you read FB’s words? They want to «educate regulators on our practices».
    If there is ONE liar guy who needs to be educated, then it’s Zuck, not German authorities.

    • Trekkie


  • Trekkie

    Its funny how much vitriol the commenters have on Zuckerberg. Surely they must be lefty commies or something.

    There are only two headset manufacturers. Both have taken massive risks, putting in billions into markets that barely exist. I dont see any lefty socialist style coop doing so and coming up with a “peoples headset”. But they make a lot of noise, keep complaining and create a ruckus.

    Yes, FB can be questioned but to condemn them as evil and criminal is stupid. It will upset the fragile VR/AR markets. Google, Intel etc have already exited. Thats bad for the industry.

    Yes for a communist ant capitalist Mao clone Germany is a hero. Please move to Cuba and leave us alone.

    • brandon9271

      If anything Facebook are the “commies.” Trying to shadowban or “fact check” everyone and be the ministers of truth. Zuckerberg can kiss my ass.

      • Trekkie

        And you carry on wearing your tin foil hat and pretend its a headset.

        • brandon9271

          meanwhile you can eat shit and pretend it’s chocolate cake.

          • Trekkie

            Ah good, you have that hat on. Nice and shiny.

          • brandon9271
          • Trekkie

            Thats the employees. Shareholders and founders treat them like sheep. The more they go lefty, the better they fall in line, keep their head down and do the effing work. They are given dreams of socialist utopias which keep them dovile and chained to their desks. Good value for the stock market too.

            Business owners pretend to be lefties. That helps them attract these sheep.

            Sorry if I hurt your feelings.

          • brandon9271
          • Trekkie

            That article refers to Trump. Many multinationals were worried that their globalism will be killed off by the Nationalism of Trump. They all had money offshore and large offices in tax havens. Trump said he would fight for the American worker. That was a threat to these globalized smartasses.

            Not relevant to discussion.

    • Hokhmah

      Please educate yourself and read at least ONE good professional book about forms of power and governing before throwing around words like “communism”. The average person in the 21th century has the same “knowledge” about social sciences like it was with natural sciences back before 17th century (age of enlightment). I’m really tired of this bullshit and “the earth is flat” level when it comes to social sciences.

      • Trekkie

        I did. It said that Socialism and Communism suck. With examples, statistics and pictures. They killed off tens of millions and still do.

        Its only capitalism and the Zuckerbergs who can create a VR headset. Capitalism rewards innovation and risk taking. Cuba is only good at making soup.

        And most flat earthers are hard lefties as well so there you go.

        I wonder what you leftie loonies are doing here. Green with envy I am sure.

        • Lucidfeuer

          Wow, it’s rare to see you’re special king of dumb degenerate in here.

        • Hokhmah

          I try one last time, although I think it’s a lost cause. You know Germany was once divided in West and East (from 1945-90). The east part was called “German Democratic Republic (GDR)”.

          But was it a real democracy like it’s defined in most professional literature? Did the people there have free and anonymous elections, freedom of speech, independent legal system, …? No, it wasn’t the case. So this is ONE example of something that is called a “democracy” but it wasn’t in reality.

          Now try to imagine, that maybe that is also the case for other nations that are called communist or socialist. Maybe they are just called like that, but aren’t really how it’s defined. I give a small hint. Communism and authoritarianism are a contradiction in itself.

          I make it even easier for you. If I take a note and write “gold” on it and put this note on a bar made of lead, does the bar automatically become gold? No, because lead and gold are having different molecular compositions in the physical period system. Now try to transfer this logic to social systems/definitions.

          • Trekkie

            I get what you are saying. The pure form of Socialism, Communism or Democracy is not followed anywhere. Its always a mix of them and I am OK with that. Many Socialist policies are very good.

            My comment is in the context of what we are discussing – FB, corporations, business for profit etc. And FB is behaving like a business for profit corporation. My argument is that only these produce innovation and new products. The economies in Socialist/Communist regimes dont. Russia was more nationalistic than communist in the cold war. And China is state capitalist.

            So trying to bring down FB is counter productive is what I am saying. If you dont like them dont use FB, dont buy their headsets. Maybe make your own headset. A headset with a social network that is open sourced and free.

          • Hokhmah

            See, now we’re talking. So you know the facts, definitions, systems, … and are capable of analyzing it correctly and differentiated. Why not like that from the beginning?

            Coming back to FB, you’re right. Of course it’s sad, cause their Oculus headsets, software and ecosystem are really nice. Too bad the founders sold it to them, but on the other side I also know without the money from FB it wouldn’t be so good and they are even now developing real nice stuff like the Varifocal Display (project Half Dome).

  • JB1968

    Finally someone stomped pn FB’s neck.

    • Christopher John

      They need to keep stomping until it pops off.