Over the past two years Meta hasn’t sold its VR headsets in Germany due to an ongoing antitrust suit in that country that alleges the forced linkage between its virtual reality products and Facebook was an anticompetitive practice. Now it seems that’s about to change, as regulators have intimated that Meta may be free and clear soon to resume sales in Germany.

Update (December 7th, 2022): Meta announced that availability in Germany will resume immediately, with residents there being able to buy both Quest 2 (starting at €449) and Quest Pro (€1,800).

Third-party availability through the regular channels, such as Amazon.de and MediaMarkt/Saturn, is still lacking, although Germany-based residents can order direct from meta.com in that country, which includes both Beat Saber and Resident Evil 4 VR. The original article follows below:

Original Article (November 25th, 2022): As reported by German VR publication MIXED, residents of Europe’s largest economy will soon be able to order Quest 2 and Quest Pro, which are both set to be available in-country by the end of this year.

After the sales halt in September 2020, Germany-based customers had to import Meta VR devices, which was typically done by buying from online retailers based in neighboring European countries, such as France’s Amazon.fr or Italy’s Amazon.it.

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Resuming sales in Germany is directly linked to Meta’s backtracking on forced Facebook logins in August. Andreas Mundt, President of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office which is tasked with antitrust enforcement in that country, calls this a “welcome development,” although the process is still not concluded.

Here’s Mundt’s full statement, translated to English:

With Meta’s digital ecosystem created with a very large number of users, the company is the key player in the social media space. Meta also has a significant position in the growing VR market. If the use of VR glasses were only possible for Facebook or Instagram members, this could severely affect competition in both areas. Meta has responded to our concerns and offered a solution by setting up a separate Meta account to use the Quest glasses. Despite this welcome development, we are not concluding the process today. First of all, we want to continue to accompany the actual design of the options for users as well as topics of the merging and processing of user data from the various meta-services.

Although a Meta spokesperson tells MIXED that both Quest 2 and the new Quest Pro will be available in-country at some point this year, the exact date is unclear.

Thanks to our reader Blaexe for pointing out that it wasn’t a block, but an anticipatory halt on Meta’s part during the ongoing antitrust suit. We’ve changed wording to reflect this.

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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.
  • Blaexe

    “Over the past two years Meta has been blocked from selling its VR headsets in Germany based on the linkage between its virtual reality products and Facebook”

    Funny how the media outlets still get that wrong – after 2 years. They were never blocked, the source even says so.

    • Sven Viking

      True, though clearly they believed they would be blocked if they went ahead with sales.

      • Blaexe

        I mean, that’s speculation aswell. They anticipated some kind of issues, sure.

        • Sven Viking

          That’s fair. Issues serious enough to make it worthwhile halting all sales for over two years though.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Germany is basically applying EU data protection laws, but each German state has a special commissioner for data protection that operates independent of the government, and those are (in-)famously strict. So while Meta could have run into the same problems with their Oculus-Facebook account merge anywhere in the EU, the chances were much higher in Germany.

            Meta could still have waited if anything would happen at all and only withdraw from the German market if they were asked to change/undo the merge, but they most likely both wanted to stop any investigation anywhere in the EU, as the results would be applicable in all other countries too. With their pre-emptive withdrawal from the largest EU VR market Meta also send a message to other countries that they weren’t going to make concessions regarding their data collection policies.

            So the serious issues they expected were most likely being forced to comply to strict data protection laws in all of the EU. And as we have recently seen with the significant drop in Meta revenue thanks to Apple forcing them to first get approval for tracking from users, their business model very much depends on excessive user profiling. That may have been enough for Meta to cut off one large country and by that way threatening smaller ones that the same could happen to them, but in the end trying to forcefully ignore the privacy rights of 450mn Europeans to protect your income is pretty much a dick move.

    • Hi Blaexe. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • So, the right guy finally got the envelope stuffed with cash ….

    And unlike Lib Hollywood SCUM that say if [insert candidate here]
    is elected President, they will leave the country in protest.

    But of course when [insert candidate here] gets elected, they don’t do shit.
    Why …?
    Because they know they’re not gonna have it better anywhere else than here.

    And so it is with Quest 2: online the anti-Zuck crowd who share this collective delusion
    that some cheap copycat Asian dogshit will somehow beat Quest 2,
    and who boast about how if Quest 2 has real competition,
    they’ll buy that one instead.

    But as soon as Pico 4 is going against Quest 2, they’ll get a Quest 2
    because they know darn good & well they aren’t gonna get better anywhere else.

    • Tommy

      Lol, like this Hollywood lib?

      “You know what? Running against the worst candidate in the history of American politics puts pressure on me. Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life—what am I going to do? I’m going to say, I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics! I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know.” – Trump Oct 2020

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Is that why they lowered the Quest 2 headphone output volume and added a high loudness warning message in recent firmware. I think it’s required by law in Germany/EU.

    • Talavan

      I’m from Germany and have never heard of such a legal requirement.
      No other device with headphones I have bought here changes the volume to a default or gives a warning message.

      • Till Eulenspiegel

        All the phones, iPods and music player in the EU region have lower headphone output compared to rest of the world since 2009.

        blog.mediamusicnow dot co dot uk/2015/03/23/eu-commission-control-volume-mp3-players-ipods-other-players/

        europa dot eu/rapid/press-release_IP-09-1364_en.htm

  • Sven Viking

    So much trouble, confusion and expense could have been avoided if they’d just kept the Facebook login optional.

  • Good news for my German friends!

  • Jistuce

    For once, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Every time I have something scold me for raising my headphones to an audible level, I curse the EU.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I’m annoyed by that too, but I grew up with Walkman and Diskman without volume control limits, and I now have tinnitus, with two rather loud sine waves of different frequencies for the left and right ear. Luckily my brain ignores them 99% of the time, but I can imagine that this can drive people crazy if they are permanently aware of it. As I never worked in loud environments, but ignored warnings regarding hearing damage in my teens, there is a significant probability that the tinnitus was caused by long time exposure to high headphone volumes.

      So again, I am annoyed by being patronized and the resulting inconvenience, but have to admit that this is a better solution than only relying on teens/humans like me listening to health recommendations and acting responsible. Just like forcing people to wear motorcycle helmets or car seatbelts. You can still ignore that and accept the involved risks, but you will get fined if caught, nudging you towards the safer option by making the dangerous one inconvenient.

      • Jistuce

        There’s a fundamental problem, though. They don’t regulate volume.

        They CAN’T regulate volume, because they don’t know what is plugged into the headphone socket. They’ve chosen a random arbitrary power level that their panel of non-experts believes will always result in safe volume levels. In my experience, the EU-approved output power is often far too low for the headphones I’m trying to use.
        And bless it’s soul, my car stereo’s aux input wants me to crank my smartphone’s headphone output to the max that my freedom-loving american firmware allows. EU volume levels lead to me cranking the stereo up to over twice my normal listening level, ironically resulting in damaging volume levels when it goes back to another source(I assume it is damaging, because it HURTS).

        My favorite encounter with EU volume caps wasn’t really the EU’s fault, though.

        I had one phone once with a glitchy semi-EU mode where it would stop me halfway, warn me, then let me click OK to bypass the cap. It was absolutely DARLING in how it managed to be more obnoxious than a hard cap while also COMPLETELY non-compliant with the rules it was attempting to enforce. Worst of both worlds.
        But wait, there’s more! If I plugged in a cable to a headphone port that had been previously cranked past the EU cap level before disconnection, it would start at the prior volume and then about ten minutes later drop the volume to about half and flash the warning about high volume causing hearing damage(with the same override button). It was impressively incompetent.

  • ViRGiN

    Steam is available in Germany and they never had any issues. Gabe must have done shady deals with officials.

  • BackLaid

    which video is that from?

  • Forrest Andar

    It starts with an s and ends with a p.