In 2021 Meta announced its intention to acquire Within, the studio behind popular VR fitness app Supernatural; though neither company announced the deal price, reporting indicated a whopping $400 million price tag which may have caught the attention of the US Federal Trade Commission. Today the FTC moved to formally block the deal in what it says is an effort to protect competition.

Update (July 27th, 2022): Following reports late last year that the US Federal Trade Commission was scrutinizing Meta’s deal to acquire Within, the developer of the popular VR fitness app Supernatural, today the agency announced that it has filed a motion aimed at blocking the deal with a federal court in a 3–2 decision.

“Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman. “Meta already owns a best-selling virtual reality fitness app [Beat Saber], and it had the capabilities to compete even more closely with Within’s popular Supernatural app. But Meta chose to buy market position instead of earning it on the merits. This is an illegal acquisition, and we will pursue all appropriate relief.”

To our knowledge this is the first time the FTC has formally attempted to block Meta’s acquisition of a VR studio. The company has previously acquired Beat Games (Beat Saber), Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Wrath and others), Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo and others), Downpour Interactive (Onward), and BigBox VR (Population: One), all in just under two years.

The FTC says its goal is to protect competition among companies in the VR fitness space.

“Meta already participates in this broader market with its Beat Saber app, as does Within with its premium rival app Supernatural. The two companies currently spur each other to keep adding new features and attract more users, competitive rivalry that would be lost if this acquisition were allowed to proceed,” the agency says.

In a statement to the New York Times about the matter, Meta said the FTC’s position 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.” Adding that the lawsuit would send “a chilling message to anyone who wishes to innovate in VR.”

The original article, which covered initial reports of the FTC’s scrutiny of the Within deal which is reportedly priced above $400 million, continues below.

Original Article (December 17th, 2021): Meta announced the acquisition of Within at the end of October, saying that the studio would be run under the umbrella of Meta Reality Labs, the company’s XR organization. The price of the acquisition was not announced at the time. Like previous VR studio acquisitions, Meta said the studio will “continue to be operated independently.”

This would mark the company’s sixth acquisition of a VR studio, though it turns out the deal may not be finalized just yet.

According to a report from The Information, the deal price was to be “$400+ million,” citing two unnamed sources. Further, the report claims that the US Federal Trade Commission, which oversees antitrust and consumer protection, has “opened an in-depth probe of the acquisition, meaning Meta may not be able to finalize the acquisition for another year, assuming the agency doesn’t formally challenge the deal in court, causing additional delays.”

Pimax Says ‘VR Station’ PC VR Console is Still in Development

The FTC’s interest in the deal is reportedly connected to its ongoing case alleging that Meta engaged in anticompetitive practices when acquiring companies like Instagram and WhatsApp. While that case had not previously directly involved any of Meta’s XR business, the size of the Within acquisition has reportedly put it on the FTC’s radar in conjunction with the existing case. We’ve reached out to Meta for comment on The Information report.

Meta’s acquisition of Within would mark the sixth VR studio that the company has bought in an effort to have greater control over the destiny of killer VR apps and the talent behind them. Meta has also acquired Beat Games (Beat Saber), Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Wrath and others), Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo and others), Downpour Interactive (Onward), and BigBox VR (Population: One), all in just under two years.

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.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • VRFriend

    400 million $ for what? For a simple app made by a few developers, worth maybe 500 000 USD, including salaries and rented office space? Crazy world.

    • guest

      They probably planned on the new virus shutting down all the gym clubs.

      • levinaaljonka

        I’ve even created $20470 only in a month and a half by simply working small tasks on my home computer.~ge102~When I’d lost my last job, I was unsettled but eventually I have obtained great online project & I was able to have thousand of dollars easily from my home.~ge111~Each individual certainly can try this opportunity & may receive more dollars on-line by visiting this web.

        >>>> >>>> >>>>….11


    • Rob Walker

      Agree. If $400 million is the real amount intended to be paid, then I suspect there’s some dodgy dealings going on behind closed doors. Maybe it’s not antitrust type dodgy, but they’re citing the previous antitrust incident to legitimise a government investigation.

      • MeowMix

        $400M could be a figure based on future earning potential and growth projected over the next 5-10 yrs (if the company stayed private and the executives/investors kept the money for themselves); that’s not an uncommon practice, especially if META wants the company.

        • Aubrey Scott

          I’ve actually obtained $19670 in no more than calendar month through working parttime through my house.~RD104~Immediately when I had lost my last position, I was very worried and luckily I discovered this simple on-line task and in this way I can manage to receive thousands from the comfort of home.~RD10~Everyone can try this best work and could gain more greenbacks on-line visiting following web-page.

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    I agree, 400 million is way too high. I’ve used supernatural, I paid for several months of the subscription, cancelled because the cost was too high. That said, it was nice, very polished, high res backgrounds, and the trainers are pretty good. I might get it again, once I get a 2022 headset, which will be smaller & lighter. My biggest con was that I couldn’t pick the individual songs, only a pack of songs.

    • MeowMix

      I’m hopeful the acquisition leads to a decrease in the monthly sub fee. IMO, closer to $10-$15/month would be a good sweet spot, and would be a big boost to bringing in new subscribers.

      • Jonathan Winters III


      • digitaldeity

        If you pay for the yearly subsciption, it’s $15 dollars a month.

  • xyzs

    Almost half a billion for that?! They really spend their huge money like morons…

    • XRC

      Meta has bought Imagine Optix, that Valve invested $9 million into plus a $1 million loan back in 2018. Another investor more recently put in $5 million, triggering legal action by Valve.

      Following settlement of legal action between Valve and imagine optix, valve published suite of patents earlier this year.

      Some Imagine optix staff have now left, jobs already being advertised by Meta for Raleigh where imagine optix HQ based. Imagine optix website recently taken down.

      • xyzs

        Did they leave because they were furious being bought by Meta ? I can understand that.

        It’s nowadays hard for a medium size leading rnd company to stay independent. Big companies either do giant checks or mean competition or disgusting lawsuits against them.

        • XRC

          Read this:

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          It is rarely the exit strategy for a medium size leading R&D company to stay independent, at least not for the investors providing seed money or first round venture capital. These usually aim to get the company to develop working prototypes very fast, so the whole company can then be sold with a huge win to a much bigger cooperation that has the money needed to bring the product to mass production.

          Creating cutting edge optics manufacturing facilities is probably a lot more expensive than the USD ~ 15mn investment Imagine Optix had collected, so they would have to go through several more financing rounds or sell the company anyway. And if there are other companies working on similar products, growing slowly simply might not be an option.

          Occasionally investors like Vale interested in using the technology themselves will add extra conditions to their investment that give them the right of preemption, i.e. if the company is sold, they must be the first to be given the option to buy it. But it seems unlikely that Valve actually wants to own a XR optics developer or any capital intense hardware manufacturing. They just need access to the finished products, leaving them in a pickle in situations like this.

      • MeowMix

        META (Facebook) has been working with Imagine Optix for many years now; predating the reveal of the Half Dome prototypes (HD revealed May 2018, but the collaboration predates that date). META acquiring Imagine Optix should be a sign that they’re serious about their varifocal display technology; hopefully it’s a Project Cambria feature.

        • XRC

          Interesting comment here from valve index Reddit:-
          “It is only Guttag’s speculation that Facebook used ImagineOptix for their prototypes–ImagineOptix is certainly not the only company that can provide this sort of technology. In fact, none of Facebook’s patents even mention the IO-specific technology that all of this hinges upon (multi-twist retarders), while all of Valve’s patents do. And SEC filings make it quite clear that Facebook certainly wasn’t investing anything in the company until a few years after Valve’s involvement. In fact, a year before Facebook even demonstrated (or rather, just showed a short video of) their HD3 vari-focal prototype (which we now know from Carmack has yet to work outside of a lab), Valve had already contracted ImagineOptix to construct a factory to mass produce these lenses.”

        • Martha Garner

          I have even made $20730 in 30 days by comfortably working job at a laptop.~y164~Just when I lost my last career, I was perturbed and luckily I have got this top on-line project and doing this I can figure out how to make thousands from my home.~y164~Each person can certainly sing up this offer & make extra money on-line by exploring following site. >>>

        • Rita English

          I’ve even got paid $17650 within through working parttime at apple laptop.~ay169~Immediately when I’d lost my previous job, I was very upset but fortunately I found this easy online job & this way I am ready to collect thousands easily from home.~ay169~All of you certainly can sing up this easy job & earn more greenbacks on-line by visiting following website. >>>

    • Megan Lee

      I have produced $19,090 in a period of through working a few easy tasks on my apple laptop.~k549~As I lost my last job, I was so perturbed but thankfully I have located this best opportunity and in this way I can figure out how to make thousands just from my home.~k549~Everybody is able to do this chance and could gain more greenbacks on-line by exploring following web. >>>

    • SonjaMallat

      I’m able to receive $90 per/hr to do some small tasks on home computer.~O364~I certainly not imagined that it’d even achievable but my top buddy made $27k just within a month just working this opportunity and she has convinced me to avail.~O364-Know new instructions visiting following link.


    • YoletteGuilmette

      I’ve actually got paid $20100 just in a month via working easy jobs on home computer.~R1034-Just when I lost my last job, I was so troubled & fortunately I located this easy on-line task & in this way I can manage to own thousand USD staying in my home.~R1034~Everybody can certainly join this opportunity & may collect extra money online heading following website.


  • I had heard about the half a million price too. I think they bought also some future vision together with the current software

    • xyzs

      Future vision? The guys developing VR in the 80s that was future vision. This is just a aerobic program with basic 3d graphics…

      • Cl

        I find it hard to believe VR was better in the 80s. Or do you mean the ideas they had? Pretty sure thats not true either.

      • ViRGiN

        and yet entire ‘(pc)vr enthusiast’ community for years was trapped exclusively with beat saber.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      billion, it’s half a billion, not million..

  • Rosko

    Just started watching succession, reminds me of the same level of insanity.

  • Pablo C

    Now I understood supernatural´s busyness model!

  • Vladimir Burnin

    Makes me wonder how much they paid for Beat Games

  • MegalodenTank

    holy crap, $500 million?is there any real backing behind this number or is it just hoax? now I feel like it is better to get in VR dev and come up with another ‘fitness’ app and hope to be acquired by Meta?

    • ViRGiN

      > I feel like it is better to get in VR dev and come up with another ‘fitness’ app

      always has been like that. failures of medal of honor, skyrim, fallout, hitman, serious sam etc made it clear to every developer out there that you should never spend more than 2-3 months on developing the main and pretty much only core of the game.

  • KingArt

    Great! So may be they can start offering Supernatural outside of USA/Canada!

  • Max-Dmg


  • Kenny Thompson

    Are these dummies aware of PS and Xbox? They’ve been buying there way to the top for decades. Literally decades. Minecraft being an excellent example.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    I mostly know Within for their 360 degree video app which was moderately successful, that is until Oculus TV came along. Like all the others I find 400 million tag hard to justify.
    I wonder how much Meta had spent on Beat Games. It sure as hell better be more than 400 million.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Hillarious. The FTC wanting to “protect” competition in the VR space…by trying to castrate the very company that is sacrificing hugely in order to make VR mainstream.