Meta (formerly Facebook) is struggling to gain and keep users on its virtual reality (VR) platform called Horizon Worlds to drive its metaverse business, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Nearly a year after Mark Zuckerberg announced his $10 billion metaverse project, internal documents reveal that the company is grappling with glitchy technology, uninterested users and a lack of clarity about what it will take to succeed.
The size metaverse market was valued at $22.79 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.8 percent during 2022-2030. A metaverse is a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real-time within simulated scenarios, according to GlobalData.
Horizon Worlds currently has less than 200,000 monthly active users, down from the 300,000-user mark milestone Meta confirmed in February.
Meta initially set a goal of reaching 500,000 monthly active users for Horizon Worlds by the end of this year.
The company has now revised its goal to reach around 280,000 monthly active Horizon Worlds users by 2022 end.
While Meta said that it had around 10,000 separate virtual worlds (as of February), the report claimed only about nine percent of these virtual worlds are visited by more than 50 users, and most users don’t even return after one month of using the platform.
While Mark Zuckerberg said that the transition to a more immersive online experience will take years, the company’s flagship metaverse offering for consumers, Horizon Worlds, is falling short of internal performance expectations.
Meta’s other products, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, together attract more than 3.5 billion average monthly users.
Earlier this month, Vishal Shah, Meta’s VP of Metaverse, reportedly admitted that Horizon Worlds is inundated with several quality issues and even those building the VR social network at the company are barely using it.
“Simply put, for an experience to become delightful and retentive, it must first be usable and well crafted,” he told employees in an internal memo seen by The Verge.
Horizon Worlds is a social VR experience where you can discover new places with friends, build unique worlds of your own, and form teams to compete in action-packed games.
Mark Zuckerberg last week unveiled a new VR headset Meta Quest Pro that is packed with features like full-colour mixed reality and is priced at $1,500.