A new report from The Information states that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has opened an antitrust probe into Meta’s recently-announced acquisition of VR fitness platform, Supernatural.
The report (which is behind a paywall) cites “two people with knowledge of the situation” in saying that the FTC ordered the probe in November, a few weeks after Meta announced it would purchase the platform, developed by Within. If true, then a probe is likely to at least significantly slow down the process of the deal, if not stop it altogether.
Meta has in the past acquired five other VR studios — Sanzaru Games, Downpour Interactive, Beat Games, BigBox Entertianment, and Ready At Dawn — but the report states that the government saw these deals as too small to intervene.
Supernatural, meanwhile, is a fitness-focused experience in which players swing their Quest controllers to destroy targets and dodge obstacles. It plays incredibly similar to Beat Saber, but the app’s angle is on fitness-focused mapping and daily playlists curated by trainers to keep fans coming back. Crucially, Supernatural is also a subscription-based service, with fans paying a monthly fee to access most of these features.
We recently spoke to the app’s head of fitness about the experience, which you can see in the video above.
Whatever the outcome of the reported probe, it’s proof of just how closesly the FTC — along with many other organizations and governments — is watching Meta has it pushes on towards its vision of the so-called metaverse. How this development might affect Meta’s future strategy — and plans for further acquisitions — remains to be seen,