Meta Lowers Expectations for Horizon Worlds as Most Virtual Worlds Remain Empty
Meta is lowering expectations regarding the growth of its flagship metaverse platform Horizon Worlds. The tech giant initially had a soft goal of reaching 500,000 monthly active metaverse users by the end of the year but has recently lowered its target to just 280,000 users.
The new forecast comes as the company is reportedly struggling to maintain users. Moreover, its metaverse platform is plagued with bugs and problems, and there have also been user complaints about the quality of the virtual world.
Meta’s Horizon Worlds Fails to Attract Users
Meta’s Horizon Worlds, a social VR application that allows users to explore virtual worlds in an interactive and immersive manner, currently has less than 200,000 monthly active users, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Initially, Meta had a goal of 500,000 monthly users by the end of this year. However, the documents showed that the platform’s number of users has steadily declined since the spring, with most visitors leaving the platform just after their first month.
In comparison, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp attract more than 3.5 billion average monthly users, a figure equivalent to almost half the world’s population. According to data by Statista, Facebook alone had around 2 billion daily active users in the second quarter of the year.
In its essence, Horizon Worlds is a collection of interactive virtual spaces, called worlds, where users can do various activities while appearing as avatars. However, there are rarely any users wandering in these virtual worlds. Even Meta’s showcase worlds like Questy’s, a virtual arcade featured in a Super Bowl commercial earlier this year, have been usually free of users more recently.
According to internal statistics, only 9% of the virtual worlds built in Meta are ever visited by at least 50 people. The bulk majority are never visited at all. “An empty world is a sad world,” one of the internal documents said.
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Horizon Worlds Plagued with Bugs and Problems
Horizon Worlds is reportedly suffering from too many bugs and quality issues, so much so that the platform has been put into a “quality lockdown” for the rest of the year to “ensure that we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before we open up Horizon to more users,” Meta’s VP of Metaverse, Vishal Shah, said, adding:
“Feedback from our creators, users, playtesters, and many of us on the team is that the aggregate weight of papercuts, stability issues, and bugs is making it too hard for our community to experience the magic of Horizon.”
Moreover, even the team building the platform isn’t using it very much because they apparently don’t like it. “The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?” Shah wrote in another memo to employees.
It is worth noting that users have also complained about the lack of participants in the metaverse to hang out with. Other complaints included that “people do not look real” and that the avatars don’t have legs. Notably, Horizon Worlds recently introduced legs for the avators.
On the other hand, Meta has claimed that their metaverse project is intended to be “multiyear,” and that they are making improvements to keep users safe. Despite the lackluster beginning, the company said it continues to believe the metaverse is the future of computing.
Meanwhile, Meta’s stock has been one of the worst-performing S&P 500 Stocks in 2022, with the company’s shares being down by more than 60% year-to-date (YTD). The company finished its latest trading day on Friday in the red too, down by 2.71%. However, Meta shares are currently up by 1.4% in pre-market.
Do you think Meta’s metaverse would be able to compete with more decentralized rivals like Decentraland and The Sandbox? Let us know in the comments below.