The company will cease delivery of all hardware pending “discussions with supervisory authorities.”
Earlier this morning, Facebook announced a temporary halt on the sale of Oculus products in Germany to ensure their products comply with local laws. While it’s unclear at this time what laws Facebook is referring to exactly, many believe the announcement to be a direct response to a new policy requiring Facebook accounts on all future Oculus headsets.
“We’ve temporarily paused the sale of Oculus hardware to consumers in Germany due to pending discussions with the regulator,” stated the company in an official statement. “We hope to resume sales again in the future. We know this is an inconvenience and we are actively working with German authorities to educate regulators on our practices and to ensure our products comply with local laws. This is a temporary pause and we hope to resume sales again in the future.”
Famous for its antitrust legislation, Germany enforces a strict “no coupling” policy. Put simply, the use of a product must not be coupled with the use of another product from that same company. Seeing as new users will soon be required to connect a Facebook account to their Oculus headsets, Facebook now finds itself in direct opposition to this “no coupling” rule.
Oddly enough, however, a new update by German publication MIXED states that the Federal Office Cartel is not in communication with Facebook on the subject of Oculus.
So, how exactly does this affect current and future German owners? According to Facebook, the company has put a temporary pause on the delivery of new headsets; distributors with hardware still in stock are free to sell their remaining inventory. Current owners will continue to have access to the Oculus Store and should experience zero interruptions. Newly imported devices may not work as intended, in which case Facebook recommends taking advantage of the 30-day refund policy.
For a full breakdown of today’s announcement, check out the official Q&A provided by Facebook to MIXED:
Q: Why are you not selling Oculus hardware in Germany anymore?
We’ve temporarily paused the sale of Oculus hardware to consumers in Germany due to pending discussions with the regulator. We hope to resume sales again in the future.
Q: Why are you punishing German users?
We know this is an inconvenience and we are actively working with German authorities to educate regulators on our practices and to ensure our products comply with local laws. This is a temporary pause and we hope to resume sales again in the future.
Q: Are you rolling this change out in Germany because of the recent antitrust decision?
We have paused sales of Oculus products in Germany due to pending discussions with German regulators. We can’t share much more detail at the moment, but we’re hopeful that we can resume sales again soon.
Q: Did the regulator ask you to pause sales / ban you from selling these products?
We have proactively taken the measure to pause sales in Germany. This was not requested of us.
Q: What does this mean for the account and device I already have – will it no longer work?
If you already have an Oculus device, you can continue to use it. We will continue offering access to the Oculus store for existing account holders.
Q: What if I import Oculus from another country – will it still work?
As we’re not actively selling Oculus products in this market, we cannot say if the device will work as intended.
Q: Will Oculus for Business still be available?
We are continuing to support existing and new enterprise customers through Oculus for Business.
Q: Will I be able to get a refund on any Oculus device / software purchases because of this decision?
You will only be applicable to receive a refund if any device purchases were made within 30 days of receipt.
Q: Will this sales pause be immediate? Can I buy a headset now?
As a result of this temporary pause, we will not be replenishing stock with our retail partners in Germany. Headsets may be still be available with certain retailers. We hope to resume selling Oculus hardware to consumers in Germany soon.