What does the future of virtual reality and the Metaverse hold? First, we can look at an upcoming court case at Meta to get a picture.
On Thursday, the Biden administration accused Meta Platforms Inc of trying to purchase Within Inc. — an accusation that kicked off a high-stakes legal battle between two companies vying for the Metaverse.
The FTC sued in August to block the merger, and the agency wants the court to issue an emergency temporary restraining order to prevent the companies from completing their planned acquisition.
According to an opening statement from FTC attorney Abby Dennis, the Within acquisition was made by Meta to acquire a new and more diverse VR user base, including existing subscribers of their popular subscription-based virtual workout app Supernatural.
Dennis said it would complement Meta’s current VR audience, which tends to skew younger and male and focus more on gaming.
Meta could have used all its vast capabilities and built its own dedicated VR fitness apps, but it planned on doing so before it bought Within.
The deal would involve acquiring an existing rhythm game app developed by a small team at a startup studio, turning it into a health and wellness app, and then partnering with Peloton, which makes exercise equipment for gyms.
She quoted an email from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who called the planned deal “awesome,” adding that he was “bullish on fitness.”
They argue that the FTC has failed to define the relevant market and say that the two companies compete with various types of health and wellness apps, not just VR-specific ones.
Meta’s legal team also disputed that plans for an Oculus-owned VR workout application had progressed beyond brainstorming and argued that the FTC undervalued the competition in the market they had defined, pointing out the potential for other tech companies, including Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and ByteDance to enter the fray.
The FTC is suing Meta for allegedly violating an earlier settlement by acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp without disclosing its plans to integrate them into Facebook Messenger.
If the government wins, Meta might be unable to move into new technologies that Mark Zuckerberg sees as the next big thing.
The Future of Virtual Reality is to Acquire or Build
If blocked from acquiring new companies in the space, Meta could face increased pressure to develop successful products, such as fitness apps.
Fitness apps offer a complete fitness service with beautiful destinations and workouts choreographed to the best songs available.
It is available only for use with Meta’s Quest headsets. These headsets offer immersive digital visuals and audio and can be a game-changer for the Metaverse.
Most of the over 400 apps available for download in the Quest mobile application store are created by third parties. Meta owns the most successful virtual-realty application in the Quest mobile application market, Beat Saber, the game it was thinking of adding to its portfolio with the Peloton deal.
After announcing plans to change its name to “Meta” earlier this year, the social networking giant has acquired the startup behind the new brand, which aims to create an immersive virtual world called “the metaverse.”
If you’ve ever thought you’ve experienced VR, you probably have. However, some excellent experiences are available today, particularly for gamers.
But over the next several years, in VR, just as in all fields of tech, we’re likely to experience things that make what is currently cutting-edged seem like Space Invaders.
And even though the games will be incredible, the effect of this transition will be far more comprehensive than anything we’ve seen before, affecting our daily lives, work, and social interactions.
Today’s best virtual reality applications place the user in an entirely virtual world that feels quite real. The trial will be used as an experiment to see if the FTC has any legal grounds to block Facebook from boosting the VR market control.
There may be two markets for VR content – one for high-end experiences (big, expensive, and require technical skills) and another for low-cost, accessible ones.
As our jobs and schools become increasingly virtual, more interactions will likely occur online.
Just as we aren’t prevented from pursuing specific career paths because they require physical presence, we will be able to interact with others in more meaningful ways as technology continues to improve in this regard, and that could be the future of virtual reality and the Metaverse.