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.
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.