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Meta’s $560 Million VR Fitness Takeover Gets Green Light

The FTC has failed in its attempts to block Meta’s proposal A$560 million takeover of VR fitness company Within.

US District Judge Edward Davila rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s request for an injunction to halt the proposed acquisition, but did stop the deal from being finalised until February 7, to allow the FTC to appeal.

The FTC first filed its complaint in July, claiming that is Meta were to buy Within — who make the popular fitness app Supernatural — it would give them an illegal monopoly in the VR space. The closest competition to Supernatural is Meta’s own VR fitness app Beat Saber.

“Letting Meta acquire Supernatural would combine the makers of two of the most significant VR fitness apps, thereby eliminating beneficial rivalry between Meta’s Beat Saber app and Within’s Supernatural app,” the FTC wrote in its complaint.

Meta responded to the complaint, writing: “The FTC’s case 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.”

Meta tackled the FTC’s assertion that the two games are competing with each other.

“They allege that Supernatural competes closely with Meta’s Beat Saber app, which is a music and rhythm game, and that people would be harmed by bringing them together,” Meta wrote.

“But this position misunderstands the nature of the space entirely and ignores the market realities. Beat Saber is a game people play to have fun and it has many competitors. Supernatural couldn’t be more different. It is a subscription-based virtual exercise service that offers boxing, flow, meditation and stretching workouts in the context of trainer-led sessions for a full body and wellness experience.

“Supernatural competes far more closely with the many other fitness-specific VR apps (like FitXR, Liteboxer, and Les Mills Body Combat) and connected fitness more broadly (such as Peloton and many others).

“In reality, Beat Saber and Supernatural are fundamentally different products with different user bases, different use cases and different competitive dynamics. And this is not just our take – Within’s leadership team strongly believes its competitors are the Pelotons and other established fitness brands of the world, not Beat Saber or other casual VR games.”

The FTC has five days to appeal.

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