Metas Facebook is (was?) one of the most popular social media platforms in the world with billions of users. His failing virtual reality metaverse project, horizon worlds, it’s not going nearly as well. In fact, a new report shows that hardly anyone spends much time indoors horizon worlds at all, leaving most user-created worlds entirely unvisited. In the meantime, Second Life and VRChat have more concurrent users according to Meta staff.
According to a new report by Wall Street Journalinternal documents and employees at Meta paint a picture that nobody really plays horizon worlds, his free-to-play virtual reality metaverse that allows users to create and visit “worlds” with friends or strangers. Think Roblox, but colder and heartless. The company initially hoped that 500,000 monthly active users would visit these various virtual worlds. Now that number has been revised to around 200,000.
Internal stats show that most players don’t stick around after their first month horizon worlds and Meta has seen a steady decline in active users since spring. WSJ reports that of all user-created worlds in the game, only about nine percent are visited by more than 50 players. The majority of the others are never visited by anyone other than the original creator. The end result is lots of empty, barren digital lands. Even quests—-a world created by Meta as part of a larger Super Bowl marketing push—-is a huge flop, with very few visitors.
“An empty world is a sad world,” says a document released by the WSJ.
And while the Quest 2 headset has sold very well, many of the customers don’t return to play anything. It is reported that more than half of all Quest headsets are no longer used by gamers after just six months.
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As for why people aren’t flocking to the expensive metaverse Facebook created, a survey conducted by meta researchers found that users mainly complained about not being able to find worlds they liked and rarely finding others to interact with could. Other complaints included People in the game don’t look “real” enough. Some even had problems with the lack of horizon world avatar legs I think that explains all the fanfare around the legs will be added to the game earlier this month, even if the announcement was a lie.
That WSJ notes that Meta’s researchers only spoke to 514 people because few players are playing, describing the current active player base as “small and valuable.” It’s not surprising to hear that, according to those familiar with the matter horizon worldsthe app has fewer concurrent users than VRChat and 2003 Second Life.
The rest of the report isn’t much better, and is further proof that the VR metaverse future that so many companies and tech bros are trying to sell is unlikely to stick with people. Hell, the people who work at Meta don’t want to use horizon worlds. And Meta seems to understand how this shit is unpopular with your average consumer as it has now started to spin his new VR headsets to large corporations who can be tricked into bringing their employees to fruition a VR headset for eight hours a day at work. But at least people always have them Walmart Metaverse to hang out between breaks, right?