Meta’s Facebook was one of the most widely-used social media platforms, yet its virtual reality metaverse project Horizon Worlds is not performing to expectations. In fact, a current investigation has established that hardly anyone spends time in Horizon Worlds – with many user-generated worlds completely unvisited. Only about 9% of the worlds ever gets visited. Initially, the company was aiming to welcome 500,000 monthly active users into its virtual world. However, it has recently revised that number down to an estimated 200,000 visitors a month. The Quest 2 headset has enjoyed remarkable success, however, the problem is that many customers are not playing with it regularly, or using it for other purposes altogether. Watching videos, browsing the web, exploring online casino lobbies like SpinFever, or playing Oculus-compatible games. Additionally, reports show that more than fifty percent of all Quest headsets owners have stopped using them within six months of purchase.
It Was a Very Promising Start…On Paper
Two years ago, when the concept of a metaverse was just starting to take shape, Facebook emerged as one of those companies that appeared capable of making it happen. First of all, a well-known visionary Mark Zuckerberg has expressed his strong belief in the potential of the metaverse and has committed to investing resources in making it a reality. And Zuckerberg being someone who created a multi-billion company, we believed in him. His organization was well-equipped with the financial assets needed to invest in research and development for constructing a metaverse. They were dedicated to investing billions of dollars over the upcoming years in order to construct a reliable infrastructure for this virtual world. Moreover, Meta has purchased several businesses in the VR and AR industries, including Oculus VR. This acquisition enabled Meta to construct the Oculus Rift and Quest headsets quickly while also granting them the advantage of possessing specialized knowledge as well as intellectual property rights. Thanks to these acquisitions, Meta was able to rapidly set up itself firmly within both virtual reality and augmented reality markets. Utilizing their extensive user base across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp was supposed to be a great opportunity for drawing users toward the metaverse. And being viewed as hiring experts in various fields related to programming and development, Meta had all the resources needed to successfully make this project the next big thing. So, what happened?
Horizon Worlds is Just Another PlayStation Home?
If you’re wondering why more people aren’t flocking to Facebook’s costly metaverse, a survey conducted by Meta researchers uncovered that many users had difficulty discovering appealing worlds and rarely encountered other players. Additionally, they pointed out that the avatars did not appear realistic enough and lacked Horizon World avatar legs – which could explain the intense buzz surrounding their addition recently. To make things even worse, Meta couldn’t conduct proper research. According to WSJ, because of the very small player base, the company was able to interview only 516 people. Compared to the more popular VRChat and Second Life dating back to 2003, Horizon Worlds still has a significantly lower user base.
PlayStation Home was an incredibly similar concept to Facebook’s vanity project, where you could congregate in a virtual town square, beautify your apartment with items of your choice, play mini-games or go bowling with friends and even watch films at the cinema…back in 2008. Back then, the hardware and internet speed was severely limited – a challenge that had to be overcome.
And then we come to the graphics, or rather the looks of the Metaverse, which are often criticized. Comparing its visuals to those of PlayStation Home, a much older game, Metaverse just isn’t up to par and fails to hold up compared with it. In all fairness, Zuckerberg’s team took into account that the average consumer typically doesn’t possess a high-end gaming PC for photorealistic graphics and had to decrease the graphical details for it to run on any machine. Unfortunately, that very reasonable decision led to Horizon Worlds looking unpolished and dated.
When Oculus Quest headsets and the Metaverse first launched, it seemed like a dream come true. However, after investing billions of dollars and countless hours into researching and developing these products, they ultimately fell short of delivering on their original promise. Despite its expansive user base across various social media platforms, Facebook was unable to leverage the metaverse and captivate prospective clients. This endeavor ran into difficulty due to a minimal user pool for research as well as outdated graphics compared to existing video games. All of these elements combined created an atmosphere in which project limitations were necessary – resulting in Facebook’s suboptimal performance within this space.