Mark Zuckerberg Testifies About Meta’s Virtual Reality Ambitions

On Dec. 8, Judge Edward J. Davila of the District Court began hearing arguments over the injunction. In an opening statement, Abby Dennis, a lawyer from the F.T.C., said Meta could have built a competitor to Within’s popular virtual reality fitness game, Supernatural, on its own.

Hal Singer, an economist who is one of the F.T.C.’s witnesses, later testified that the deal harmed competition. Aaron Koblin, the founder of Within, also appeared as a witness, as did Mark Rabkin, a Meta executive. Mr. Rabkin said Meta had considered adding a fitness element to a virtual reality game it owned, Beat Saber, but hadn’t pursued the idea.

On Monday, Meta’s chief technology officer, Andrew Bosworth, who oversees the company’s virtual reality work and was involved in the Within acquisition, testified that Meta saw itself as “a platform, and the idea of a platform is that there is so much software that no one company could possibly create all of that software.”

Meta prefers to acquire companies that created viral games, Mr. Bosworth said, because it isn’t easy to imitate that success. He added that Meta would not favor games or programs it bought over those from other parties.

Hours before his testimony, Mr. Bosworth published a 2,000-word blog post defending Meta’s commitment to artificial and virtual reality, and stressing that the company sees it as a competitive space.

“As new devices hit the market, we believe our industry will enter a new era of growth and competition that will bring enormous benefits to users and the developer community,” he wrote.

Mr. Zuckerberg emphasized that point on Tuesday in court, arguing that his company’s approach to the metaverse would benefit developers with more money for and interest in virtual reality apps. Some apps will be acquired by his company, he said, while others will thrive independently.

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